MIAMI (AP) -- Feasting on sub.-500 teams could be the Utah Jazz's
formula for a 20th consecutive postseason appearance.
lottery-bound Miami Heat didnt deviate from the trend Monday night.
The Jazz took advantage of a Heat squad missing injured leading
scorer Eddie Jones to defeat Miami 83-73. Karl Malone scored 29
points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Jazz, which is 20-7
against teams with losing records, but only 16-20 against winning
The Jazz came off consecutive losses to Western Conference
powers Dallas and Sacramento.
"Losing leaves a bad taste in your mouth, so this does not take
the loss to Sacramento and Dallas away," Malone said. "Everybody
wants to talk about you played hard, but a loss is a loss.
"We got embarrassed in Dallas, so to bounce back and get the
win, that's what is important at this point."
The Jazz avoided a third consecutive loss by taking an early
lead against the Heat and never relinquishing it.
The Heat could not get closer than seven on Malik Allens hook
shot with 1:43 remaining, making it 80-73. Harpring made two free
throws with a minute left and Malone converted one of two free
throws with 36 seconds remaining, securing the win.
"A win is a win, no matter how you look at it," Harpring said.
"A win over the Miami Heat is the same thing as a win over Dallas
in the standings. We've got to win.
"There's guys right behind us in the standings and, of course,
theres guys right ahead of us, too. So we've got to win."
Miami (20-43) has lost four straight since Jones injured his
ankle in practice.
Coach Pat Riley, who has had previous run-ins with officials
this season, was ejected by referee Mark Wunderlich, receiving his
second technical foul of the game with 6:34 remaining in the third
quarter. Riley was disputing a foul call on Brian Grant, who also
was assessed a technical for arguing the call.
"We were passionate about trying to win the game," Riley said.
"Things were going the other way. Its frustrating to me and its
frustrating to my players."
Earlier this season, Riley was fined for comments critical of
referees following Miami's home losses against New York and
Like Riley, Jazz coach Sloan has had problems with officials.
"Thats not a big deal,'' Sloan said, laughing. "Weve all had
problems with officials. You think I'm worried about that?"
Utah certainly didnt need to worry much after building an early
lead against the Heat. The Jazz spotted Miami the first two points
of the game and didnt trail again. Malone scored 15 of his points
in the first half, and his three-point play with 2:01 remaining in
the second quarter gave Utah its biggest lead of the first half,
Despite Caron Butlers 18 third-quarter points, Miami could not
reduce the gap closer than 48-41 four minutes into the second half.
Butler finished with 24 points.
Miami could not build any late extended run as Utah kept the
Heat scoreless for the first 3:52 of the fourth quarter.
"We're fighting for our playoff lives right now," Malone said.
"Nobody's going to be talking about the playoffs if we don't take
care of business. We might not go to the playoffs, so of course a
win is a win. And at this point they're big wins for us."
Karl Malone moved into seventh place on the career
rebounding list, surpassing Nate Thurmond. Malone needed seven
rebounds to overtake Thurmond and finished with 13. Malone has
14,470 rebounds in his career. This season, Malone moved up two
spots on the list, previously passing Walt Bellamy. Utah is 32-3
when leading after three quarters. ... The Heat is 0-19 when
scoring 79 points or less ..Miami placed C-F Sean Marks on the
injured list with a sprained left elbow. Marks suffered the injury
in the fourth quarter of Miami's 92-83 loss to Denver on Saturday
night. The Heat also activated center Ken Johnson from the injured
list. Johnson had been sidelined for 36 games because of a lower