Skip to main content

After winning two straight games in the friendly confines of the United Center, the “Last Dance” Chicago Bulls kicked off a seven-game road trip with a matchup against the surprising Phoenix Suns on November 20, 1997.

The Suns started their first full season with Danny Ainge as the head coach with six wins in their first eight games and made it seven in nine with an 89-85 victory over the two-time defending champs, dropping the Bulls to 6-5.

The loss was a bit surprising, seeing as Michael Jordan, who had a game-high 30 points, got plenty of help from his fellow Chicago starters, which hadn’t often been the case to start the year. Ron Harper scored 14, Luc Longley and Toni Kukoc each kicked in a dozen, and Dennis Rodman grabbed 14 rebounds.

Michael Jordan with the Bulls circa November 1997
Michael Jordan circa November 1997 | Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images

But the Bulls got just 13 points off the bench while the Suns got 36, 16 of which came from Kevin Johnson, who’d taken on more of a reserve role. A young Steve Nash scored four points in just under 10 minutes.

Danny Manning, who’d later win NBA Sixth Man of the Year, started this game and led the way for the Suns with 23 points and eight rebounds. Jason Kidd scored just eight points but dished out 11 assists, grabbed six rebounds, and recorded four steals.

Michael Jordan306310
Dennis Rodman414310
Ron Harper146530
Luc Longley124211
Toni Kukoc123220
Randy Brown40200
Jason Caffey01101
Rusty LaRue71110
Jud Buechler01200
Joe Kleine20000
Scott Burrell00100
Jason Kidd861140
Danny Manning238100
Hot Rod Williams43200
Rex Chapman82100
Antonio McDyess101011
Kevin Johnson165311
Mark Bryant33001
Clifford Robinson132000
Steve Nash41210

Former Atlanta Braves All-Star Andruw Jones Wishes He Had His Son’s Baseball Resume

Here’s a look at the NBA standings following all the action on November 20, 1997.

Eastern ConferenceWL
Atlanta Hawks 111
Miami Heat73
Charlotte Hornets63
New Jersey Nets63
New York Knicks74
Orlando Magic74
Chicago Bulls65
Milwaukee Bucks65
Indiana Pacers55
Boston Celtics56
Cleveland Cavaliers46
Washington Wizards47
Detroit Pistons48
Philadelphia 76ers36
Toronto Raptors110
Western ConferenceWL
LA Lakers100
Phoenix Suns 72
Portland Trail Blazers83
Seattle Supersonics83
San Antonio Spurs73
Minnesota Timberwolves64
Houston Rockets55
Utah Jazz56
Vancouver Grizzlies57
Sacramento Kings47
Dallas Mavericks38
Golden State Warriors19
LA Clippers110
Denver Nuggets09

Up next for the “Last Dance” Bulls was a date with the lowly Los Angeles Clippers, a game that turned out to be much more challenging than it should have been.

Have thoughts on this topic? Keep the conversation rolling in our comments section below.