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Jackson: 'It's just an incredible feeling'

1/9/2003

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Matt Harpring didn't realize his mid-range
jump shot made history.

It came off a pass from Mark Jackson, who became just the third
NBA player to reach 10,000 career assists.

"When I hit it I heard the crowd going crazy and I was like,
'Wow, that was a sweet jumper. They must have liked that one,'"
said Harpring, who had 22 points and 11 rebounds in the Utah Jazz's
99-93 win over the Phoenix Suns. "I had no clue."

The Delta Center crowd of 19,820 certainly did and saluted
Jackson, who joined career assists leader and teammate John
Stockton and Magic Johnson on the short list of players with
10,000.

The cheers grew to a standing ovation by the next stoppage as
Jackson stood at mid-court and raised his fist to acknowledge the
crowd.

"It's only happened to two other guys in the history of the
game. It's just an incredible feeling," said Jackson, who had five
assists Wednesday and is at 10,002 for his career. "It made me
feel really good to do it here because of the way they showed they
appreciated it."

The play got the Jazz got to 76-73 with about a minute left in
the third quarter and highlighted the Jazz's comeback from an
11-point deficit to win their eighth out of their last 10 games.

Karl Malone scored 24 points and Andrei Kirilenko added 14
points for the Jazz. Stockton finished with nine assists and still
is comfortably ahead of the pack with 15,434 for his career.

While Jackson won't surpass Stockton, he should catch Johnson's
total of 10,141 before the season is over.

"To be in a class with two other guys, it's just
unbelievable," Jackson said. "It is. I just sat there and thought
about it."

Stephon Marbury had 29 points and 10 assists to lead the Suns,
who went 1-2 on a brief road trip and were playing their second
game in two nights.

"We did have our chances. It was a really good game tonight but
they made their plays and we didn't," Marbury said. "I don't
think we were tired. We just didn't execute when we needed to."

Shawn Marion scored 25, going 10-for-15 from the floor,
including 4-for-6 on 3-pointers. Phoenix shot 49.3 percent
(34-for-69) but was outrebounded 47-26 while losing its fourth
straight to Utah. The Jazz and Suns play again Sunday in Phoenix.

After Jackson's standing ovation, Utah's comeback continued and
the Jazz tied the game at 81-all on a 3-pointer by Scott Padgett.
Then on their next possession took a lead they never relinquished
on Padgett's three-point play.

"I'm probably the last option out there, so you've got to find
a way," said Padgett, who had eight points.

After falling behind by eight in the fourth quarter, the Suns
had one final chance after Marbury hit a jumper as he leaped across
the lane to get Phoenix to 95-93 with 29 seconds left. Padgett went
2-for-2 from the line with 9.2 seconds left and Malone added two
more free throws to clinch it.

Amare Stoudemire scored 13 and Scott Williams finished with 10
points for the Suns, whose reserves were outscored 32-10.

"Last night we went to our bench and our bench pulled through.
Tonight just wasn't our night," Phoenix coach Frank Williams said.
"Not that I really gave them a lot of opportunities, but I'd like
at least maybe a little bit more out of our bench."

Game notes
The Suns were 19-for-37 (51.4 percent) in the first half.
... Williams suffered a mild concussion Tuesday in a win over
Portland, but was back in the starting lineup Wednesday. ... After
falling behind 13-4 to open the game, the Jazz used a 14-2 run to
pull ahead and led 26-23 after the first quarter. ... Utah is
averaging exactly 99 points against Phoenix this season. The Jazz
won the season opener 99-76 Nov. 19 at the Delta Center.