Forget "The Last Dance." Last Gasp is more like it.
Never were the Bulls more on the ropes, more in doubt that their dynasty would end with a loss, than on May 31, 1998.
Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Bulls and Pacers, which NBC Sports Chicago will rebroadcast at 7 p.m. Thursday, produced a final score of 88-83. If that low score doesn't indicate the slugfest that this physical series produced, well, then maybe this postgame quote does.
"It was a hard-fought victory," Michael Jordan said.
This was no high-flying, athletic affair from His Airness and company. This was a proud team using every one of its last resources to grind out a victory.
This was Steve Kerr hitting a huge 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter. This was Toni Kukoc delivering big shot after big shot, particularly in the third. This was Scottie Pippen taking on seemingly every defensive matchup and scoring the clinching basket late.
And this was Jordan, switching onto Reggie Miller and limiting him to one fourth-quarter shot (which the Pacers All-Star guard missed).
Jordan said afterward that he and his teammates never thought negatively. That's what championship teams do. But make no mistake: This game marked the biggest test of the championship era.
Last Dance or no, that the Bulls survived it to advance to the NBA Finals for a rematch against the Jazz proved yet again how tough-minded and battle-tested they were.
Through May 15, NBC Sports Chicago is airing every 1998 Chicago Bulls NBA Playoff game (21 total). Find the full schedule here.
Bulls passed biggest test of dynasty in surviving the 1998 Indiana Pacers originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago