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Jazz fall to Spurs for 10th straight time

12/1/2002

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Karl Malone needed seven points to reach
35,000 for his career, and on a normal night, he might have gotten
that number before he even broke a sweat.

But the San Antonio Spurs clamped down on Malone, holding him to
1-for-16 shooting from the floor in a 107-85 win over Utah that
snapped the Jazz's six-game winning streak.

Malone finished with just enough points to become the second NBA
player to reach 35,000. He is second on the career scoring list
behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and was not in the mood to
celebrate afterward.

"You have to take a win any day over a milestone,'' said
Malone, who came into the game averaging 19.1 points. "I scored
seven, we lost. It's just bittersweet.''

The loss was Utah's 10th straight to the Spurs.

Stephen Jackson scored 17 points to lead seven San Antonio
players in double figures, while John Stockton led Utah with 13.

The Spurs broke open what had been a back-and-forth game by
making 10 of 15 shots in the third period, with Steve Smith scoring
11 points on 4-for-5 shooting.

San Antonio's defense held the Jazz without a basket in the
quarter until Andrei Kirilenko made a layup with 4:20 left. Utah
then went another three minutes before Mark Jackson hit a jump hook
for the team's second field goal of the quarter.

"They did a fantastic job on defense,'' Spurs coach Gregg
Popovich said of his team, which blew a lead Friday night in
Phoenix and lost. "It was good to see them stick with the defense,
take control of the game and take care of the ball.''

Smith finished with 15 points and Tim Duncan contributed 14,
while Tony Parker and Malik Rose each had 13. Steve Kerr added 11
points on 4-for-4 shooting and Kevin Willis had 10.

Malone scored his only field goal on an 18-foot jump shot five
minutes into the game. No. 35,000 for his career was a free throw
early in the third period.

He said he's being bothered by a hand injury suffered in the
preseason, but he didn't blame that for his subpar performance.

"As a professional, you have to take it. I feel I let the team
down,'' Malone said. "They kept coming to me (for shots) and I
wasn't getting it down.''

Utah opened a 15-7 lead in the first period behind the outside
shooting of Stockton and inside work of Greg Ostertag, while the
Spurs managed to make only two of their first dozen shots from the
floor.

Parker hit a pair of jump shots and a layup in a minute and
Smith followed with a 16-footer to cut the Jazz's lead to 17-15
with 3:44 remaining in the first. Jackson boosted Utah's lead to
26-19 after one by swishing a buzzer-beating heave from San
Antonio's 3-point arc.

The Spurs shot 10-for-18 in the second quarter, and took their
first lead of the game, 33-30, on Kerr's 3-pointer five minutes
into the period. San Antonio built its advantage as high as eight
points, but Utah tied it up late on a 10-2 run capped by a pair of
free throws by Stockton.

Jackson converted a three-point play and Robinson made two free
throws to give the Spurs a 50-47 lead at the break.

Game notes
Utah's last victory over the Spurs came in February 2000,
and its last win in San Antonio was in February 1999. ... The Spurs
lead the all-time series, 65-62. ... San Antonio had the lowest
opponent field goal percentage (.399) coming into Saturday's game.
Utah shot 50 percent in the first period (11-for-22) but was only
16-for-56 the rest of the game to finish at 34.6 percent ... San
Antonio struggled at the foul line, shooting 21-for-35 (60
percent).