The 1998 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1998 playoffs of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the conclusion of the 1997–98 NBA season.
The Eastern Conference champion Chicago Bulls played against the Western Conference champion Utah Jazz, with the Jazz holding home-court advantage together with the first 2 games in Salt Lake City. In a repeat of the previous year’s Finals, the Bulls won the series 4 games to 2 for their third consecutive NBA title and their sixth in eight seasons. Michael Jordan was voted the NBA Finals MVP of the series (he also had won the award the past five times the Bulls won the Finals: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, and 1997). This would be his sixth NBA championship and sixth Finals MVP award in six full basketball seasons. Until 2014, it was the last successive Finals rematch between two groups.
The 1998 Finals garnered the highest Nielsen TV ratings in NBA history in 18.7, and even surpassed the Nielsen ratings for the 1998 World Series, marking the first time that the NBA had a higher rating in its championship round than of Major League Baseball’s championship around.
Until 2012, this has been the most recent closing played completely out Texas and California.
The series marked the first time since 1989 that the same two teams met in the Finals in consecutive years. The Jazz earned the league’s best record by virtue of sweeping the two-game regular season series with the Bulls despite the two teams finishing at 62 wins. In the playoffs, the Celtics had been pushed to the verge by the Houston Rockets before winning Game 5 at Utah, and then overcame Rookie of the Year Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs 4–1. They then swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. The Bulls swept the New Jersey Nets and subsequently took out the Charlotte Hornets in five, but it took seven matches to overcome the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
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