‘The Last Dance’ Redux: Michael Jordan and the Bulls Get Their Rings and Their First Win of the 1997-98 NBA Season

Ahead of their “Last Dance” home opener on November 1, 1997, the Chicago Bulls raised a banner to the rafters and received their glitzy championship rings for the fifth time in seven years.

Amid all the hoopla, of course, Michael Jordan & Co. still had a game to play. And coming off an opening-night loss to the Boston Celtics, one in which they blew a 20-point lead, this matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers became a little more important.

Ring night often brings a lack of focus on the game itself, but the Bulls were determined to get into the win column and did just that with an easy 94-74 win.

The Chicago Bulls' NBA championship ring ceremony on November 1, 1997
The Chicago Bulls team watches as the 1997 NBA Championship banner is revealed prior to the November 1, 1997, game against the Philadelphia 76ers | Chris Lee/AFP via Getty Images

Phil Jackson tinkered with the starting lineup a touch, opting to start Randy Brown over Toni Kukoc. Dennis Rodman rode the pine to kick things off for the second straight night.

As it went the night before against Boston, Chicago got off to a fast start, holding a 27-15 lead after the first quarter and a 44-31 advantage at the halfway point.

But instead of squandering the lead in the third as they’d done against the Celtics, the Bulls ran away with this one coming out of the locker room, hitting 16 of 21 shots from the floor to outscore the Sixers 35-18. And they coasted to a 20-point win from there.

Ron Harper led the way for the champs and was one of four Bulls in double figures. Michael Jordan bounced back from a rough shooting night in Beantown to hit seven of 14 field goals, scoring 16 points in just over 24 minutes. Jason Caffey chipped in with 14, while Luc Longley added a dozen points and 10 rebounds.

Jerry Stackhouse led the Sixers with 15 points, with Allen Iverson and Jim Jackson each adding 13. Philadelphia struggled to get the ball in the basket all night, making just 37.2% of its shots. The loss dropped Larry Brown’s group to 0-2.

BullsPTSREBASTSTLBLK
Ron Harper174820
Jason Caffey146420
Luc Longley1210201
Randy Brown81321
Michael Jordan167220
Dennis Rodman613220
Toni Kukoc61331
Scott Burrell30310
Steve Kerr82110
Bill Wennington12100
Jud Buechler30000
Joe Kleine00000
76ersPTSREBASTSTLBLK
Allen Iverson131431
Jim Jackson135300
Jerry Stackhouse153241
Derrick Coleman117001
Eric Montross210011
Clarence Weatherspoon99101
Tim Thomas95120
Mark Davis00000
Scott Williams03110
Terry Cummings01010
Rex Walters20210

Here’s a look at the NBA standings following all the action on November 1, 1997.

Eastern ConferenceWL
Atlanta Hawks20
Miami Heat20
New Jersey Nets20
Boston Celtics10
Detroit Pistons10
New York Knicks10
Chicago Bulls11
Indiana Pacers11
Milwaukee Bucks11
Orlando Magic01
Charlotte Hornets02
Cleveland Cavaliers02
Philadelphia 76ers02
Toronto Raptors02
Washington Wizards02
Western ConferenceWL
Dallas Mavericks20
Minnesota Timberwolves20
San Antonio Spurs20
Houston Rockets10
LA Lakers10
Phoenix Suns10
Portland Trail Blazers11
Seattle Supersonics11
Utah Jazz11
Vancouver Grizzlies11
Sacramento Kings01
Denver Nuggets02
Golden State Warriors02
LA Clippers02

Up next for the “Last Dance” Bulls was a double-overtime thriller with the San Antonio Spurs.

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