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The Edge

Game 6 analysis by Brady Mortensen

FORWARDS (edge Utah)

The Bulls got a sub-par effort here, largely because of Scottie Pippen's bad owie. Toni Kukoc scored 15 but really didn't cause the Jazz too much consternation. Karl Malone displayed the form he showed in the regular season, leading Utah to the league's best record. The Mailman scored 31 points but only 11 of those in the second half; he also pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds and - get this - dished out a game-high seven assists. Malone didn't get much help from Adam Keefe or Bryon Russell, who wobbled in with two and seven points, respectively. Add in the fact that Malone played some of the game at the center spot and the Utah forward position looks even worse, but the coveted `X' goes to the Jazz anyway.

CENTERS (edge even)

Of five guys who normally play center for both teams, only the Jazz's Antoine Carr did squat. The Big Dawg scored nine points and pulled down three rebounds, while teammates Greg Foster and Greg Ostertag scored nil and nada. At least Ostertag's line wasn't his fault - he didn't even get into the game. But don't get the wrong idea, Luc Longley and Bill Wennington didn't exactly light up the scoreboard either. They combined for a whopping two points and two rebounds. Dennis Rodman actually played the most effective center minutes for the Bulls, tallying seven points and eight rebounds for the game.

GUARDS (edge Chicago)

Well now, what can you say? Pit Michael Jordan against the entire Utah Jazz contingent of guards and you still have to give the Bulls the nod here. While not shooting particularly well, His Airness pumped in a game-high 45 points and continued to hit crucial shots down the stretch. Most importantly, he nailed the game-winning jumper with five seconds left. Jeff Hornacek had his second-best game of the Finals, chipping in 17 points and Stockton added 10 (including a huge 3-pointer in the final minute), but it wasn't nearly enough to offset Jordan's brilliance. Oh, and by the way, Ron Harper scored eight.

BENCHES (edge Utah)

This wasn't one of the Jazz subs better outings. Fortunately for Utah, however, the Bulls bench did even worse. The Jazz second-teamers combined for 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists. The Bulls pine-warmers racked up a less-than-inspiring 11 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, and most of that production came from the Worm. Only Carr came close to double figures for Jazz here. Shandon Anderson chipped in five. Though the advantage goes to the Utah bench, the reality is that the game's outcome rested very little on the second- and third-stringers and mostly on the shoulders of one Michael Jordan.

COACHES (edge even)

Give Jerry Sloan credit for getting the officials to call some illegal defenses early on. The refs usually don't listen to the poor guy. Bulls coach Phil Jackson was largely a non-presence in Game 6, though he did do a decent job of keeping his guys in the game while Pippen was off nursing his sore back. If it were possible, we'd give the edge to the refs here, since they did more to decide the outcome of this one than Phil or Jerry.