History on This Day: Jazz beat Rockets to advance to first NBA Finals

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On this day in 1997, John Stockton drained a 3-pointer as time expired to send the Utah Jazz to a win over the Houston Rockets for their first appearance in the NBA Finals.

Stockton finished with 25 points, 13 assists, two rebounds and two steals in the 103-100 victory in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. He scored 15 points alone in the fourth quarter and helped the Jazz overcome a 13-point deficit in the final period.

Prior to that season, Utah had lost its previous three trips to the conference finals in 1992, 1994 and 1996. They were finally able to get over the hump following the late-game heroics of Stockton after knocking off the Rockets, who beat them in 1994.

Stockton later recalled how important that shot turned out to be.

“Even though I hit the shot, I never sensed so much that it was me that hit it,” Stockton said. “It was a ‘We did it.’ I remember breathlessly saying, ‘We did it!’ We finally reached the Finals and that was something we had been knocking at the door for a number of times.”

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After clinching their first appearance in the NBA Finals, the Jazz would eventually lose to the Chicago Bulls in 1997 and 1998. Stockton and teammate Karl Malone infamously never won a title with the Jazz and are among the greatest to ever play without winning a ring.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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