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Deseret News archive: ‘John Stockton sends the Utah Jazz to the NBA Finals’

John Stockton releases a game-winning 3-pointer against the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of the playoffs on May 29, 1997.

A look back at local, national and world events through Deseret News archives.

“Uh-oh.”

Many Utah Jazz fans want to be mad at Bill Walton, may he rest in peace, but others know why he said “Uh-oh” at one of the most important moments in this state’s sports history.

It’s the same “Uh-oh” a true baseball fan says when he sees a weak ground ball and instantly know a double play is coming. Or when everyone in your foursome looks away when you truly chili-dip a wedge shot at the 18th hole.

John Stockton was that good, and Bill Walton knew it.

On this day in 1997, Stockton nailed a 3-pointer as time expired to lift Utah to a 103-100 win against the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals. That May 29 victory gave the Jazz the series and lifted the franchise to its first NBA Finals appearance.

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Utah Jazz's John Stockton leaps in the air after hitting a 3-point shot at the buzzer to beat the Houston Rockets 103-100 in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday, May 29, 1997, in Houston. | DAVID J. PHILLIP

Let’s set the stage, courtesy of Deseret News colleagues:

When John Stockton sent the Utah Jazz to the NBA Finals

Jazz will savor win, then turn sights on defending NBA champs

A step-by-step look at how the West was won by Jazz

UnbelievaBull!

Clyde ticked at pick, says he was `hugged’

Malone is one unhappy mailcarrier

Thousands throw Jazz party at airport

Now let’s watch it:

Jazz put a big dent in newscasts’ May ratings

NBC announcers never counted Jazz out

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Want more from the archives? What a treat for Jazz fans to see Utah’s players and coaches smiling and jumping around like little kids.

Jazz in need of some paint repair work

Jazz catch Rockets short on fuel

Rockets are hot — hot air, that is

Now about Bill Walton, who, seconds after the shot, said, “What a great moment for the Utah franchise. Its proudest ever.”

Walton died Monday at the age of 71 after a prolonged fight with cancer, the NBA announced on behalf of his family. He was the NBA’s MVP in the 1977-78 season, the league’s sixth man of the year in 1985-86 and a member of the league’s 50th anniversary and 75th anniversary teams. That followed a college career in which he blossomed while playing under coach John Wooden at UCLA, becoming a three-time national player of the year, per The Associated Press.

What Gov. Spencer Cox, the Pac-12 Conference and others said about Bill Walton’s death