Key to the game
Not good enough to play for Chicago, Greg Foster definitely was good enough to help the Utah Jazz beat the Bulls.
Foster, cut by Chicago three seasons ago, came off the bench to score a playoff career-high 17 points Friday night as the Jazz defeated the Bulls 104-93 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
“I wish he was back on our team,” Bulls coach Phil Jackson said. “We have a lot of respect for Greg. He’s a fine player. He got caught in a numbers game with us.”
Fifteen of Foster’s points came in the first half, when Utah built a 16-point lead that it would expand to 24 midway through the third quarter. But more important were the last two - a pair of free throws with 2:08 left as the Jazz held off a desperate Chicago rally.
Before the foul shots, the Bulls had pulled to 90-83, their smallest deficit since the first quarter. Foster’s free throws were the first two of 14 consecutive that Utah made to finish the game.
“My whole attitude is I’m trying to have as much fun as I can,” Foster said. “If I work hard and don’t put pressure on myself to be great, good things will happen. I’m just having fun out there.”
The center-forward was with the Bulls in 1994-95, but lasted only 17 games before being released.
“A raw deal,” said Foster, who signed a three-year contract with Utah last summer. “They pulled the rug out from under me. I was hurt. If you ever got hit in the stomach with a bat, I could compare it to that. I was at a time in my career where I felt I really belonged in the NBA. So (playing) against them is extra special.”
After scoring only six points in the first two games, Foster was 5 for 6 and had four rebounds in the first half, when the Jazz raced to a 61-45 lead. Twelve of the points came in the second quarter, including a rebound jam and a 3-pointer.