THE FLU GAME (1997-2017)
This is the 20 years celebration hommage of the game as known as "The Flu Game", one of Michael Jordan's most memorable games. At 2 a.m on Tuesday morning, Jordan called his personal trainer to his hotel room, where he was lying in the fetal position and sweating profusely. He hardly had the strength to sit up in bed and was diagnosed with a stomach virus or food poisoning, likely caused by a pizza ordered the night before. The Bulls' trainers told Jordan that there was no way he could play the next day. The Jazz had just won Games 3 and 4 to tie the series at 2 wins a piece, and a third consecutive win would give them the series lead. The Bulls needed their leader for this critical game, and despite his sickness, Jordan got out of bed at 5:50 p.m on Wednesday, just in time for the 7 o'clock tip-off at the Delta Center.
Jordan was weak as he stepped on the court for Game 5. At first, he displayed little energy, and John Stockton, along with reigning MVP Karl Malone, led the Jazz to a 16-point lead (36–20) in the second quarter. But Jordan slowly began to make shots despite lacking his usual speed. He scored 17 points in the quarter as the Bulls ended the half with a large run cutting the Jazz lead to four (53–49). While Jordan was fatigued in the third and sitting on the bench, Utah was able to reclaim the lead and stretched it to 8 points (77–69). Jordan shot well again in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 points. With 46.4 seconds left and Chicago down 85–84, he was fouled and went to the free throw line. He made the first to tie the game, but missed the second. Toni Kukoč got the offensive rebound to Jordan, who dribbled back to allow the offense to set up. He passed the ball to Pippen, who was quickly double-teamed. Pippen then passed the ball back to a now-unguarded Jordan, who made a 3-point shot to give the Bulls an 88–85 lead with 25 seconds remaining in the game. A Greg Ostertag dunk brought the Jazz back within one point, but Luc Longley answered with a dunk of his own, and Chicago held on for a victory when John Stockton missed the first of two free throws in front of the stunned crowd. With only a few seconds remaining and the game's result safely in Chicago's favor, Jordan collapsed into Scottie Pippen's arms, creating an iconic image that has come to symbolize The Flu Game.
Jordan played 44 minutes, finishing the game with 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 1 block.