Malone scored 33 points, including 14 in a fourth-quarter
comeback, and Harpring hit a big 3-point basket that forced
overtime and led the Utah Jazz to a 103-101 victory over the
Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.
Malone left the game briefly with 1:22 remaining in regulation
after being smashed in the face by teammate Andrei Kirilenko.
Malone commented briefly on the injury after the game, sitting
in front of his locker, still bleeding from the nose.
"He was just playing hard,'' Malone said. "He went to block a
shot and he just ran into me. It's no big deal.''
Utah trailed 83-75 with 7:43 left in the game, but Malone put
them in position for Harpring's 3-point basket with one-tenth of a
second left to tie it at 94-94 and force overtime.
Harpring was 11-of-14 from the field.
"These are the nights you just want more shots,'' Harpring
said. "You don't want to come out. You only have a couple of games
like that a year and you have to take advantage of it. You can feel
when your stroke is going.''
Malone hit a 12-foot jumper to start the overtime and the Jazz
never trailed again. Malone's 33 points were one short of his
season high. Harpring, who missed Utah's last game with a lower rib
cage contusion, finished with 24 points.
Utah overcame 20 turnovers that resulted in 29 points for the
Harpring missed the Jazz' last game with a lower rib cage
"The ribs were a little sore but I was surprised how well they
felt,'' Harpring said. "There were just a couple of plays where I
John Stockton was supposed to take the shot that went to
Harpring, who had to shoot over 7-foot-6 Yao Ming.
"Right when I shot it I saw him and I thought 'I have to get
this one up,''' Harpring said. "With his wingspan you have to, but
I thought I had a chance when I released it.''
Utah pulled even with 1:14 to go in regulation on a layup by
John Stockton that made it 91-91 deadlock.
Steve Francis led Houston with 28 points and Yao added 25 points
and 10 rebounds. Yao grabbed a rebound with 3.5 seconds left and
sank two free throws, giving Houston its final lead, 94-91.
"We had a great effort,'' Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said.
"We made a few mental mistakes. At the end, we were supposed to
foul, force them to make free throws and go after rebounds and we
Houston closed the third quarter with an 11-0 run. Yao hit two
free throws and a short hook shot before Francis' 3-point basket
gave Houston a 68-67 lead with 2:10 left in the third quarter.
Francis then hit two free throws and a 13-foot jumper to make it
72-67 entering the fourth.
Utah hit 80 percent of its first quarter shots yet managed only
a 26-24 lead at the end of the period. Harpring led the Jazz' early
charge with nine first-period points, shooting 4-for-4 from the
"Down the stretch, some things didn't go our way and I'm not
going to cry about it one bit,'' Francis said. "We've got to suck
it up and look forward to playing them tomorrow. We have to come
prepared tomorrow, and it's going to get worse tomorrow at their
The Rockets are 19-2 this season when they block eight or
more shots. They are 14-4 when Yao blocks at least three shots. ...
Utah had the worst free throw percentage in the league over the
last six games before the All-Star break at 67 percent. The Jazz
hit 20 of 23 against the Rockets.