Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 1/14

Game 1: Monday, January 14th
Game 2: Wednesday, February 20th
Game 3: Monday, March 4th
Game 4: Tuesday, April 2nd

Nuggets 97


Jazz 106


    7:00 PM ET, January 14, 2002

    EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

    1 2 3 4 T
    DEN 22 22 26 2797
    UTAH 26 30 22 28106

    Top Performers

    Den: N. Van Exel 26 Pts, 9 Reb, 5 Ast

    UTAH: K. Malone 26 Pts, 6 Reb, 8 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Jazz extend Denver's losing streak in Salt Lake City

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Things aren't as bad as they seemed earlier this season for the Utah Jazz.

    Karl Malone

    The Denver Nuggets? Don't ask.

    Karl Malone scored 17 of his 26 points in the second half and Bryon Russell added 17 in a reserve role as Utah beat Denver 106-97 Monday night.

    John Stockton had 14 points as the Jazz won for the eighth time in their last 10 games and extended Denver's road losing streak to 12 games. The Nuggets also have lost 11 straight, dating to 1995, in Salt Lake City.

    Utah opened the season with its worst start in 19 years, but the Jazz have stabilized as young players like Andrei Kirilenko and Jarron Collins worked their way into coach Jerry Sloan's system.

    "There's always room for improvement, but this team has a lot of potential to get better as time goes on," Stockton said. "Those young guys are getting better and better. That's exciting."

    John Starks even dropped a comment about the playoffs.

    "You have to keep an eye on the playoffs," Starks said. "You have to believe you're going to make it. If you have any doubts, you're not going to make it. Everybody in here believes that."

    Nick Van Exel led Denver with 26 points while rookie Chris Andersen had a career-high 17 points and nine rebounds. But after cutting a 12-point halftime deficit to 78-73 early in the fourth quarter, Denver couldn't take over.

    "We just came up short," reserve point guard Avery Johnson said. "Right now, we still have a lot of things to work on before we can really talk about winning on the road."

    One bright spot was Andersen, who was called up from the NBDL in November. He came in averaging two minutes a game but played 22.

    "I wasn't expecting this many minutes, but they gave it to me so I took it," Andersen said. "I just needed one more rebound for a double-double, so I feel like I can contribute."

    John Crotty added 12 points for the Jazz, who rebounded from a disappointing double-overtime homecourt loss to Memphis on Saturday.

    "The outcome of the ball game wasn't the same, but I thought we played better the other night," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.

    Denver has lost eight of its last nine and is struggling without All-Star forward Antonio McDyess, out with a torn patella tendon, and Tariq Abdul-Wahad, out after arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

    It didn't help the Nuggets' cause that forward Scott Williams didn't suit up after straining his back Saturday against Houston and forward George McCloud missed his third straight game with a strained right calf.

    "They didn't have all their people here," Sloan said. "It was a game you should win and continue to improve. You've got to play intelligently and we were just kind of haphazard out there at times."

    The Nuggets trailed 56-44 at halftime but cut it to 64-61 with 4:40 to play in the third after Andersen's two free throws capped an 8-0 run. But the Jazz quickly regained control with an 11-2 burst.

    Van Exel scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to trim Denver's deficit to 78-73 with 11:04 to play. Despite several charges in the last six minutes, the Nuggets couldn't get any closer.

    Game notes
    Utah rookie F Andrei Kirilenko started in place of Donyell Marshall, who missed his second straight game with a bruised right hip. Kirilenko scored all of his eight points in the first quarter. ... With 1:33 remaining in the first quarter, Malone attempted the 12,000th free throw of his 17-year career. He missed that one, but finished 6-of-8 from the stripe. He was 10-of-18 from the floor.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 97 106
    FGM-FGA 34-79 (.430) 42-78 (.538)
    3PM-3PA 3-13 (.231) 8-15 (.533)
    FTM-FTA 26-31 (.839) 14-17 (.824)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-34 9-41
    Assists 14 30
    Turnovers 8 13
    Steals 3 4
    Blocks 7 8
    Fast Break Points 11 12
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/0) 27 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Nick Van Exel Van Exel
    Points: 26
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Karl Malone Malone
    Points: 26
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1