For the basketball-starved public, ESPN is providing a pseudo fix with the release of The Last Dance. This in-depth look at Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls is nostalgia, history and greatness all rolled into a ten-episode ride. The Baseline boys figured it was only right to do after shows on this engaging content that has fascinated the basketball community. We’ve taken a look each Sunday after the episodes drop. This week we dive into episodes nine and ten, the final ones in the series, which feature:
- The 1998 Indiana Pacers
- Indiana was stacked with physical veteran players who had hopes of retiring Jordan before he could reach his sixth championship.
- Larry Bird coached the team led by Reggie Miller, Rik Smits, Mark Jackson, Antonio Davis, Dale Davis and Chris Mullin.
- Miller’s Game 3 performance brought the team back to life
- A jump ball in Game 7 ultimately changed the game’s momentum allowing Steve Kerr to hit a shot that sent the Bulls on a run that closed the series.
- The 1997 Utah Jazz
- Armed with a freshly minted MVP in Karl Malone, Utah had hopes of a title to complete their breakout season.
- Bryon Russell comments to Jordan two years previous to that fueled Jordan for the majority of the season, as did the slight of not winning the league’s MVP.
- Utah’s grit gained them respect but the infamous “Flu Game” highlights the series that Jordan’s Bulls ultimately won.
- The 1998 Utah Jazz
- Back for round two, the Jazz were better than the year before.
- Taking an early lead in the series only sparked the Bulls and their Last Dance mentality
- Jordan’s last 30 seconds in Game 6 with a layup, steal and the game-winning jumper added to his already rich legacy.
- Jerry Reinsdorf and Jerry Krause could have kept the team together
- Jordan laments not being given the opportunity to go for a seventh title
- What’s did the documentary miss?