SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Before tipoff, Karl Malone was listed as questionable with a sprained knee.
Yeah, right. As if that's going to put the Mailman on the bench.
Malone sprained his right knee Friday night in a victory over the Clippers. Anybody who thinks that would sideline him obviously doesn't know Malone, who has missed only three games to injuries during his 17-year career.
"You just block it out," Malone said. "I talked to coach (Jerry Sloan) before the game. He said, 'If you're not feeling right, just let us know.' The main thing was playing and staying warm, and not sitting too long."
Malone and longtime Jazz running mate John Stockton, who's in his 18th season, have reached a point where Sloan trusts them to decide what's best for themselves and the team.
"Coach realizes me and Stock know our bodies," Malone said. "Coach always says, 'Just don't do anything silly."'
Like stay in the locker room.
Stockton scored 15 points, hitting all four of his free throws
in the final 32.2 seconds, and Donyell Marshall scored 21 against his former team as the Jazz assembled a modest three-game winning streak.
Malone was unstoppable in the final period, extending the
defense by playing on the perimeter and making nearly everything he
put up. He hit from the baseline, from the paint and the top of the
key, despite Erick Dampier's defense.
"When a guy like Karl Malone gets it going, you've got to get
the ball out of his hands," said Antawn Jamison, who scored 14 for
Golden State. "Then again, he was just catching and shooting."
Danny Fortson added 11 points and 10 rebounds.
It was a matchup of the two worst teams in the league when it
comes to taking care of the ball. Both teams came in averaging 17.9
turnovers. Utah ended with 18 turnovers and Golden State had 24.
"Our nemesis has been turnovers and they killed us today, too, especially early on," Warriors coach Dave Cowens said. "They just put a layup clinic on us. We were fortunate we were only down 11 by halftime."
Sloppy as it was at times, things were close at the end.
After trailing by 13 points early in the second half, the Warriors closed within 97-94 on two free throws by Richardson with 4:22 remaining.
But the Jazz allowed only two more field goals the rest of the way, and Golden State couldn't close the gap after Hughes went 1-of-2 and Bob Sura was 2-of-4 from the foul line in the final three minutes.
Malone helped the Jazz extend an 84-78 lead going into the final
period by scoring 10 of Utah's first 12 points over the first four
minutes of the fourth quarter.
"He's the kind of player who has always worked himself out (of
a slump)," Sloan said. "He just gets into a zone where he feels
like every shot he takes, if it's not too far out, he's got a chance to make it."
Malone's highlight was a layup on a wraparound pass from
Marshall, giving the Jazz a 95-87 lead with 6:02 remaining.
"Your teammates realize it and your coaches realize it when you get into a nice flow," Malone said. "You want the basketball."
The Jazz have won 25 of their last 27 games against Golden State, including 14 straight in Salt Lake City. The victory improved Utah's record at the Delta Center this season to 6-6.
Richardson's scare came with 3:40 to play when he stepped on
Stockton's foot and went to the ground, writhing in pain as he
clutched his knee. He walked to the sideline and team officials
didn't consider the injury serious.
The Warriors have outrebounded 18 of 21 opponents this
season. The Jazz held a 31-28 edge this time. ... DeShawn
Stevenson, a second-year player who came to Utah out of high
school, made his first start this season, scoring six points in 20
minutes. ... Utah's victory over the Clippers on Friday marked the
first time all season the Jazz won back-to-back games.
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