Nobody expected the first round series between the 1999 Utah Jazz vs Sacramento Kings to be anything other than a bloodbath.
After falling short to the Chicago Bulls in 97 and 98, the Jazz were considered by many to be the favorite to claim the title before the 99 season began. Karl Malone struggled early on, but the Jazz lifted late in the season and reached the 3rd seed (despite having the 2nd best record in the league, you’ve gotta love those kinds of standings rules).
They drew the Kings, who after being the laughing stock of the league, had turned things around by trading for Chris Webber, signing Vlade Divac, and drafting Jason Williams. But still, nobody thought they would pose a real threat to the Jazz. How wrong they were. The Kings won game 2 in Salt Lake City, then won game 3 at home to put Utah on the verge of elimination just 3 games into their playoff run.
Utah was able to come from behind to win a thriller in game 4, and then do the exact same in the decisive game 5 back at home. At the end of game 5, Bob Costas said that “Utah barely escaped”. I disagree wholeheartedly with that statement. The Jazz had to elevate their game to get through to the second round.
Despite losing the series to Utah, this was indeed a changing of the guard moment in the NBA as Sacramento would emerge in the upcoming seasons as a true contender, and Utah would struggle to remain competitive in the West.