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Harpring posts second-straight career high

11/30/2002

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Matt Harpring was just warming up when he scored a career-high 30 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.

The fifth-year forward topped that Friday night when he scored 33 points to help the Utah Jazz win their sixth straight with a 95-77 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"Matt is playing awesome right now. He's really got it going,
and he's doing all the little things right,'' said teammate Jarron
Collins, who had 12 points and a season-high nine rebounds.

Harpring, who has never averaged more than 11.8 points in a season, made his first seven shots -- many of them against Kevin Garnett, who is four inches taller.

"I got into a rhythm tonight early and my teammates kept looking for me,'' Harpring said. "It's fun playing with those guys out there. You cut and they find you.''

Harpring's back-to-back 30-point games are the first for any
Jazz player besides Karl Malone since 1986, when Adrian Dantley did
it during Malone's rookie season.

"Harpring is playing extremely well. He scored a lot from pure ability and off the transition,'' Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said.

Harpring finished 13-of-18 from the field and made all four of his 3-point attempts. He topped the 20-point mark for the fifth time during Utah's winning streak.

"He seems to be getting more comfortable with our team. He was able to knock some shots down,'' Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said.

Malone added 20 points as Utah held Minnesota to 3-of-20 shooting during the fourth quarter. The Wolves shot 37 percent for the game.

"We weren't as aggressive as we should have been. We were
passing on shots and then settling for jump shots,'' said Garnett,
who led the Wolves with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

Rasho Nesterovic added 16 points for Minnesota, which closed to
79-72 early in the fourth quarter, but Utah's defense clamped down.
Punctuated by Andrei Kirilenko's block of Garnett's shot and a
steal by John Stockton, the Jazz kept Minnesota scoreless for more
than five minutes and built an 86-72 lead.

"They just made all the hustle plays: offensive rebounds, loose balls and easy baskets in transition,'' said reserve guard Rod Strickland, who had 12 points.

The Wolves, who had won three in a row on the road, hoped to get
off to a better start to their six-game, 11-day Western Conference
road trip.

No team could open a double-digit lead until Harpring's
3-pointer sparked a 8-2 run late in the third quarter that gave
Utah a 77-66 lead.

Game notes
Utah had a season-high 12 blocked shots, led by four from
Greg Ostertag. ... Garnett was whistled for a technical in the
first quarter for pushing Kirilenko. ... The longest ovation of the
night was for former Utah football coach Ron McBride, who was fired
Monday after13 seasons. ... The game marked the first time backup
point guard Mark Jackson played as many minutes as Stockton. Each
played 24.