Defensive domination lifted Bulls past Pacers
When Chicago prepared to retire Scottie Pippen’s number 33, Bulls.com took a look at the legendary player’s greatest moments.
Bulls 85, Indiana Pacers 79
May 17, 1998 | Eastern Conference Finals, Game One
United Center | Box Score
Scoring only four points, Scottie Pippen dominated Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals against Indiana with his defense on Pacers point guard Mark Jackson, who turned the ball over seven times in an 85-79 Bulls victory.
Pippen struggled from the field, but dished out seven assists, grabbed seven boards and added four steals in the win.
“It was an amazing defensive performance by our starters coming out in the third quarter, and that turned the game around,” remarked Bulls guard Steve Kerr. “It’s amazing to see how good Scottie is in particular. The guy shot 1-for-9 and scored four points and totally dominated the game. That’s what makes him one of the greatest players ever. He doesn’t have to score a point and he can control the whole game.”
Pippen described how at one point in the game, the Pacers “threw three or four picks” at him in the backcourt in an effort to free up the 6-foot-3 Jackson.
“I knew they were aware I was creating some problems,” said the 6-foot-7 Pippen.
Following the game, Jackson was reportedly “annoyed” with repeated inquires regarding Pippen’s D, but credited him with doing “a great job.”“Obviously, that hurt us offensively,” admitted Pacers Head Coach Larry Bird. “That was the first time that I have seen a player get up on a point guard and not really foul him but get his hands in there and dig the ball out. Next game, we need to do a better job of getting Mark open going down the court.”
“By no means is the series over,” the frustrated point guard said after his team committed a staggering 25 turnovers in the series’ opening game.
“We looked at this series and saw that [Jackson] is the guy who makes this team click,” said Pippen. “With my size, it limits his offensive opportunities. It was a match-up that Michael [Jordan], I and Ron [Harper] agreed upon. We feel like the match-ups we have now, we’re comfortable with.”
In a hard fought battle of a series, the self-proclaimed “Doberman Gang” of Pippen, Jordan and Harper had set the tone early. Chicago, in one of its most challenging playoff series, needed all seven games to dispose of Indiana en route to its sixth World Championship.
Click to read the next story on Pippen’s Greatest Moments: World Champions for the first time in 1991.
Read Scottie Pippen’s Top 10 Greatest Moments here.