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We was all eating Delaney Rudd Jersey dinner in Barcelona while

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Their equanimity restored, the Jazz’s swagger quickly came back, too.

“Coming out of that series, we really felt that we had a chance to do something special,” Corbin said.

Now matched up against a Seattle SuperSonics team led by Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, the Jazz figured to have a tough Cheap Delaney Rudd Jersey battle on their hands if they were to make it as far as the Western Conference finals for the first time.

And it was tough — Game 1 was decided by just eight points. Games 2, 3 and 4 by six points apiece. Game 5 was the only double-digit outcome of the series, as the Jazz prevailed 111-100. Of course, while all the games were close, they were also almost all in Utah’s favor. Practically before they knew it, they’d earned a 4-1 series victory and broken through their supposed glass ceiling.

Utah would now head up to Portland to take on the top-seeded Trail Blazers, four wins away from the NBA Finals. Being blown Cheap John Stockton Jersey out 113-88 in Game 1 and 119-102 in Game 2 did nothing to diminish their belief in themselves.

“I distinctly remember the team being very confident,” Edwards said. “And sometimes when you’re confident, you don’t have to beat your chest, you don’t have to tell everybody about it — it’s just a matter of having that quiet confidence that, you know, the team is good enough, we have the right pieces.”

The Jazz rallied back in Game 3, with Karl Malone racking up 39 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in a 97-89 victory. In Game 4, Malone had 33 points and 12 rebounds, and Stockton contributed 18 points and 15 assists, and Utah’s 121-112 win tied the series, setting up a pivotal Game 5.

(Tribune File Photo) John Stockton of the Utah Jazz (12) drives past New York Knicks’ Gerald Wilkins (21), left, and Mark Jackson (13), right, in an NBA game Jan. 29. 1992.
(Tribune File Photo) John Stockton of the Utah Jazz (12) drives past New York Knicks’ Gerald Wilkins (21), left, and Mark Jackson (13), right, in an NBA game Jan. 29. 1992.

The series may have been effectively decided on a play right before halftime in Portland. As Blazers guard Clyde Drexler went to Cheap Karl Malone Jersey make a move, the ball was swiped from him. The follow-through motion of his arm, however, resulted in Stockton taking a finger to his right eye.

“It was a bad one. … Stockton goes off the floor at halftime and and everybody’s wondering, ‘Gosh, how bad is it?’” Luhm said. “And Stockton — Mr. Indestructible — doesn’t play in the second half.”

With team doctors determining the point guard’s vision was sufficiently compromised, he was held out. Still, Utah rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit to tie the game going into the fourth quarter. Backup point guard Delaney Rudd even nailed a 3-pointer at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime. Still, after Utah took a brief lead, the Blazers reeled off an 8-0 run to close out the 127-121 win.

Stockton would return for Game 6, and while he would rack up 18 points and 12 assists, he also was clearly still impacted by the injury — shooting just 5 for 19 overall and 1 of 8 from 3-point range.

“The Jazz said, you know, in typical Jazz fashion, ‘Oh, he’s going to be fine.’ They didn’t really put anything on [the injury report]. Well, Stockton wasn’t fine. He was hurt and he tried to play, but he just wasn’t himself,” Luhm said. “… I saw his eye after the game and it was all bloody and red and it was it was really grotesque. Just the nature Utah Jazz Jerseys China of the beast, I guess — somebody got hurt, and it happened to be one of the best players of all time.”

With Utah mustering just 38 points after halftime, Portland earned a 105-97 win, a series victory, and a Finals date against Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and the defending champion Chicago Bulls.

The Jazz were simultaneously proud of finally having taken that next step, disappointed about losing a series they felt they could have won, and resolute that, with another new step now to take, they would find a way to make it happen.

“After that, in the locker room, it’s that sense of, we let a good opportunity slip through our fingers; that this was our series to win, and, you know, we blew it,” Edwards recalled. “And so it was a letdown. … We had an opportunity and we lost that focus, we lost a grip on it, and it got away from us. I think, in some ways, that probably made the team even more even more hungry.”

Members of the U.S. basketball team greet center Patrick Ewing (6), left, during the game against Angola in Bandalona, Spain, during the Summer Games, July 26, 1992. From left are John Stockton, Clyde Drexler, obscured, Chris Mullen, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, and Ewing. The U.S. beat Angola, 116-48. (AP Photo/John Gaps III)
Members of the U.S. basketball team greet center Patrick Ewing (6), left, during the game against Angola in Bandalona, Spain, during the Summer Games, July 26, 1992. From left are John Stockton, Clyde Drexler, obscured, Chris Mullen, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, and Ewing. The U.S. beat Angola, 116-48. (AP Photo/John Gaps III)

And if that series itself didn’t do it, a story the “Brown Bear” brought back from his trip to watch the 1992 Summer Olympics would certainly do the trick.

“Out of the 12 guys on [the Dream Team], I had played with four: currently playing with John and Karl, and I played with Pippen and Jordan to start my career. So I went over to Spain to watch. And I was talking there to Pippen. … We was all eating dinner in Barcelona while the Dream Team was going on; I was able to have dinner with the guys, and they’re playing cards, and [Pippen] said, ‘Brown, man, we was happy as I don’t know what’ [when Portland beat you],” Brown remembered. “He said, ‘Man, we was glad you guys lost, because we really didn’t want to play y’all. We really didn’t know what we was gonna be doing with your pick-and-roll. Portland was a way better matchup for us.’ So that was good information to hear. I wish we would’ve got a chance to play them, but that was definitely good to hear.”