Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 12/27

Game 1: Friday, December 27th
Trail Blazers103
Game 2: Wednesday, January 29th
Trail Blazers71Final
Game 3: Wednesday, March 26th
Trail Blazers85Final
Game 4: Thursday, April 3rd
Trail Blazers88

Trail Blazers 85

(44-27, 21-15 away)

Jazz 94


    Coverage: FSRM

    7:00 PM ET, March 26, 2003

    EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

    1 2 3 4 T
    POR 18 18 13 3685
    UTAH 27 21 22 2494

    Top Performers

    Por: R. Wallace 21 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Blk

    UTAH: K. Malone 24 Pts, 6 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Stl

    Utah extends winning streak to five games

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- John Stockton got exactly what he wanted for his 41st birthday -- a win.

     John Stockton

    Stockton became the seventh 41-year-old in NBA history and recorded 10 assists as the Utah Jazz extended their winning streak to five games by beating the Portland Trail Blazers 94-85 Wednesday night.

    "No question. Losing on your birthday wouldn't be a lot of fun," Stockton said. "It's a great game and there's nothing like it."

    Karl Malone scored 24 points and Matt Harpring had 18 points and nine rebounds as Utah guaranteed an 18th straight winning season and edged closer in the Western Conference playoff standings to the Trail Blazers.

    Portland has lost three straight and saw its lead over the Jazz for fifth place in the West drop to two games.

    "That's what you want work at. You want to look forward to who you can catch rather than who can catch you," Stockton said.

    In addition to the victory, Stockton got another wish: No celebration at the Delta Center other than a few signs and "Happy Birthday!" shouts from the stands.

    It was business as usual for the quiet Stockton, who leads the NBA in career assists and steals.

    "You just come to expect it," Malone said of his teammate for 18 seasons. "I'm sure he'll do that until he's finished. If he's 42 and playing, he'll be doing the same thing."

    Andrei Kirilenko added 13 points and four blocks off the bench for the Jazz, who shot 50 percent (35-for-70) and held the Trail Blazers to 13 points in the third quarter. Utah led by double figures the entire second half, never letting the Trail Blazers closer than 12 until the final minute while improving to a season-best 13 games above .500 (42-29).

    Portland, which was playing for the second straight night, continued to struggle. Rasheed Wallace scored 21, but was the only starter in double figures. Portland was held scoreless for the first 3{ minutes of the second quarter and didn't score for four minutes to open the third.

    "They just beat us in pretty much every area," Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said. "It was a well-played game by them and a tired, poorly played game by us."

    It was the 16th time this season and 858th time in his career Stockton has recorded 10 or more assists. His 10th assist Wednesday, appropriately, was on a full-court pass to Malone, whose one-handed dunk gave the Jazz a 90-68 lead with 3:51 left.

    Stockton was pulled with 2:46 remaining and got a standing ovation from most of the remaining crowd of 19,628.

    Stockton didn't look like one of the oldest players in the NBA. On a diving steal attempt with 4:32 left in the third quarter, Stockton went full speed toward the baseline and knocked the ball out of bounds. He hit the base of the basket and a cameraman, but got up quickly and received a loud cheer on his way to the bench.

    "That's Stock. He's been playing that way forever," said Harpring, who hit two 3-pointers as the Jazz went on a 10-0 run after Stockton's steal attempt. "He's amazing. He's 41 and still playing NBA basketball. He's playing against guys that are 21 and beating them."

    Utah's good fortune continued early in the fourth, when Jazz center Greg Ostertag tried to feed Kirilenko for an alley-oop, but the ball banked in for the first field goal of the quarter. Ostertag, not known for his high shooting percentage, laughed his way down the court and several teammates on the bench joined him.

    Calbert Cheaney added 10 points for the Jazz. Jeff McInnis scored 15 and Zach Randolph added 11 points for Portland

    Game notes
    The Jazz made their first five field goal attempts and led 27-18 at the end of the first quarter. The Blazers were called for three offensive fouls in the quarter and allowed the Jazz to shoot 65 percent (13-for-20). ... With the Trail Blazers down 79-57, Portland coach Maurice Cheeks was called for a technical foul for yelling at the officials when the play was in front of the Blazer bench.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 85 94
    FGM-FGA 32-71 (.451) 35-70 (.500)
    3PM-3PA 5-14 (.357) 3-8 (.375)
    FTM-FTA 16-18 (.889) 21-25 (.840)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-36 8-36
    Assists 18 31
    Turnovers 20 16
    Steals 7 10
    Blocks 2 7
    Fast Break Points 7 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/0) 15 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Rasheed Wallace Wallace
    Points: 21
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Karl Malone Malone
    Points: 24
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0