Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/3

Game 1: Sunday, November 3rd
Game 2: Thursday, January 16th
Game 3: Wednesday, March 5th
Game 4: Sunday, April 6th

SuperSonics 85

(16-21, 10-11 away)

Jazz 92


    8:00 PM ET, January 16, 2003

    EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

    1 2 3 4 T
    SEA 22 28 11 2485
    UTAH 16 19 34 2392

    Top Performers

    Sea: G. Payton 27 Pts, 5 Reb, 8 Ast, 2 Stl

    UTAH: K. Malone 34 Pts, 9 Reb, 2 Ast, 5 Stl

    Harpring's 26 points help Jazz win fifth straight at home

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah Jazz opened their game against the Seattle SuperSonics looking more like they had just returned from a cross-country road trip instead of just coming from Denver.

    Matt Harpring

    The second half was another matter as the Jazz turned a 15-point halftime deficit into a 92-85 win Thursday night, extending Seattle's losing streak to six straight.

    "It was just an all around bad start. Sometimes that happens,'' said Matt Harpring, who scored 15 of his 26 points in the third as the Jazz rallied for their biggest comeback of the season.

    "We just came out in the third quarter with a lot of energy and focused on the defensive end.''

    The Sonics had not dropped six in a row since early in the 1990-91 season and appeared to be ready to end their losing streak until collapsing in the third quarter.

    Karl Malone finished with a season-high 34 points and nine rebounds and Andrei Kirilenko had 13 points and eight rebounds as the Jazz won for the fifth straight time at home.

    Utah, which rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Denver 92-81 Wednesday night in Denver, has won 11 of 14 to improve to a season-high eight games above .500 and opened a five-game homestand on a good note after getting booed in the second quarter.

    "Those guys were playing as hard as you see a team play in that situation,'' Utah coach Jerry Sloan said of the comeback. "It was refreshing after we played so poorly. The fans booed us and rightfully so.''

    Gary Payton had 27 points and eight assists and Desmond Mason, Rashard Lewis and Brent Barry each scored 11 for the Sonics. Seattle, which opened the season 4-0, dropped to five games below .500 for the first time this season.

    "We did a good job of containing those guys, disrupting them in the first half, but we gave them an opportunity in the second half,'' Seattle coach Nate McMillan said. "They started to get more movement, they found their cutters underneath the basket for some easy baskets.''

    Seattle had a 14-0 run in the second quarter and led by as much as 16, but couldn't hang on to a 50-35 halftime lead. Seattle collapsed in the third quarter as Utah tightened its defense and got to loose balls for easy putbacks.

    The Jazz fell way behind the struggling Sonics early, then opened the third quarter with a 20-2 run. Harpring scored 10 during the initial run with a layup, a free throw after a 3-second violation and a 3-pointer off a pass from John Stockton.

    Harpring added a putback that cut Seattle's lead to 52-49. After Ostertag hit one from down low, Harpring broke free for a dunk that put the Jazz up 53-52 with 5:54 left in the third. The dunk, a rarity for Harpring, got the crowd on its feat as the Jazz took their first lead since they were up 8-7 in the first quarter.

    Malone hit a 3-pointer to give the Jazz a 69-59 lead.

    The Jazz outscored the Sonics 34-9 in the third, forcing seven turnovers and pulling down five offensive rebounds. The Jazz were 13-for-21 in the third and when they missed a shot, somebody was usually there for the putback. The Sonics, meanwhile, were 4-for-15 and never got closer than four in the fourth.

    Utah, which went 3-1 against Seattle in 2001-02, improved to 1-1 against the Sonics this season.

    "I was proud of the way we fought. It marked an improvement for us,'' Barry said. "We just weren't hitting shots.''

    Game notes

    The game featured three of the top-10 career assist leaders in Stockton (No. 1), Utah's Mark Jackson (No. 3) and Payton (No. 8). Stockton and Payton each had eight assists Thursday and Jackson finished with six. ... Sonics coach Nate McMillan is still one win shy of 100 wins at 99-85. ... Kirilenko was selected Thursday to play on the second-year team in the NBA Rookie Challenge game the day before the All-Star game. Kirilenko played as a rookie last year and had four points in 15 minutes. ... Payton went down on the court for several minutes late in the fourth after taking an accidental chop to the throat from Stockton, who had the ball and was trying to get around Payton when the side of his left hand hit Payton. Payton came right back in and he and Stockton shook hands before play resumed.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 85 92
    FGM-FGA 33-71 (.465) 34-71 (.479)
    3PM-3PA 3-14 (.214) 4-12 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 16-24 (.667) 20-29 (.690)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-35 13-39
    Assists 19 25
    Turnovers 15 15
    Steals 10 10
    Blocks 5 2
    Fast Break Points 6 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (3/0) 21 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Gary Payton Payton
    Points: 27
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Karl Malone Malone
    Points: 34
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 5
    Blk: 0