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Kirilenko, Stevenson help stop Sonics' streak

3/6/2003

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Two of the youngest members of the Utah
Jazz are giving the older guys a hand.

Andrei Kirilenko had 19 points and 11 rebounds and DeShawn
Stevenson scored 13 points in the Utah Jazz's 94-83 win over
Seattle on Wednesday, snapping the SuperSonics five-game winning
streak.

"DeShawn has played very well. So has Andrei. That has been a
real plus for us," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "Young players
should give you a spark. I shouldn't have to rely on 40-year-olds
to do that."

Kirilenko just turned 22 last month and Stevenson will be 22 in
April. That makes them almost half the age of Jazz cornerstones
John Stockton (40) and Karl Malone (39), who once again led Utah.

Malone scored 23 points to lead the Jazz in scoring for the
ninth straight game and pulled down 10 rebounds, giving him 17
double-doubles this season. Stockton added 12 points and eight
assists for the Jazz, who didn't shoot well from the field but made
up for it at the free throw line.

After going 4-for-8 from the line in the first quarter, the Jazz
made 27 of 30 the rest of the game. Stockton and Kirilenko were
both 8-for-8 as Utah won for the second straight time after losing
three in a row on the road last week.

"Every win for us is at this point is big," Stockton said.
"We're still in a tough battle, so it hasn't changed much."

It was just the second loss for Seattle in eight games since
acquiring Ray Allen from Milwaukee in the Gary Payton trade. Allen
led the Sonics with 24 points. Predrag Drobnjak scored 16, Rashard
Lewis had 14 and Brent Barry finished with 13.

The Sonics, who have lost six straight at Utah, were playing one
night after beating Minnesota 92-83 and didn't have much left in
the second half.

"I still thought we had a chance to win. We just didn't make
our open shots," Allen said of the Sonics' 29-for-73 shooting. "I
don't want to make excuses. If we make shots it's a different
game."

Many of the Sonics complained about the officiating. Seattle was
called for 29 fouls to Utah's 23. The Jazz also attempted 38 free
throws to the Sonics' 25 while beating Seattle for the sixth
straight time in Utah.

"We were only down seven, but the refs kept calling fouls and
giving them easy baskets," Lewis said. "We don't play well in
Utah for some reason. It's happened since I've been a SuperSonic."

The contributions from Stevenson and Kirilenko were welcome with
forward Matt Harpring out for a second straight game because of a
sprained ankle. Stevenson lost his starting job to Calbert Cheaney
early in the season, and Kirilenko had been slumping.

"I'm just going out there and trying to work hard, take open
shots and knock them down," said Stevenson, who had a career high
18 points Sunday in a win at New Jersey. "The shots are going
in."

The Jazz, who outrebounded Seattle 49-35, wore the Sonics down
late in the second quarter with a 14-2 run, including eight points
from Malone, and led 45-41 at halftime.

Utah was just 8-for-21 from the field in the third, but went
10-for-10 from the line. Stockton opened the period with a
three-point play and Kirilenko followed with four straight free
throws and a 3-pointer later in the quarter that put the Jazz up
58-46.

After Kirilenko hit a running jumper that gave the Jazz a 66-53
lead, he stole it from Reggie Evans and started a fast break.
Utah's Calbert Cheaney got the ball under the basket and missed a
reverse layup, but Kirilenko was right there for the putback for
the Jazz's sixth unanswered point.

The 68-53 lead was the largest of the game, and Seattle never
got closer than six the rest of the way.

Game notes
Utah improved to 2-1 against the Sonics this season. ...
Seattle coach Nate McMillan was called for technical with 9:17 left
in the third after Stockton's 20-footer gave the Jazz a 54-45 lead.
McMillan was still fuming over a loose ball foul called on Evans a
couple of minutes before. ... Harpring, the Jazz's second leading
scorer with an average of 18.1 points, was in street clothes for
the second straight game to rest his right ankle, which he injured
in a loss at Philadelphia last week. ... Kirilenko had 15 points
and six rebounds in his other start for Harpring on Sunday.

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