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Malone lives at free throw line, Warriors pay

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Brian Winters grimaced and muttered to
himself as he dug into the Golden State Warriors' postgame buffet.

"You don't get any whistles until you improve," the Warriors
coach said. "That's just the way it is."

It's a common lament for those who have tried to slow down Karl
Malone during the prototypical power forward's 17 seasons, but
nobody would argue that the Mailman doesn't earn every bit of
respect he gets.

Malone scored 37 points, making a season-high 16 free throws, in
the Utah Jazz's 101-99 victory over Golden State on Monday.

Bryon Russell made five free throws in the final 15 seconds to
back another vintage performance by Malone, who got two of the
young, struggling Warriors' top big men to foul out while defending
him.

"I love to compete. Winning is important, but I just love to
compete against younger guys," Malone said. "Everybody writes you
off all the time. It's kind of neat to continue to run the floor
and make the younger guys play you."

Scott Padgett added 13 points on perfect shooting as Malone and
the Jazz wore down Golden State with a long parade to the
free-throw line, then held off several late charges. Utah shot 26
free throws in the second half while beating the Warriors for the
26th time in their last 28 meetings.

"I told our guys that (the Warriors) have a little more
toughness than we do in certain areas," Utah coach Jerry Sloan
said. "We challenged that a little bit and didn't let them get
second-chance shots. The Warriors are playing hard, and they're
going to get better."

Five of the 13 highest-scoring games of Malone's career have
come against the Warriors, and he was in excellent form again. The
Mailman had his season-high of 39 points in the teams' earlier
meeting this season, and he scored 18 points in the first half
Monday despite making just four field goals.

"We tried to run some guys over and get the ball out of
Malone's hands, but they found him on the other side of the
court," Winters said. "He made some big-time shots. He had two or
three long jumpers. There's not much you can do about that."

Malone, who also had 11 rebounds, eventually wore down the
Warriors' defense, with Danny Fortson and Erick Dampier angrily
protesting calls after they fouled out in the closing minutes.

In a game dominated by prolonged runs, Utah scored nine straight
points midway through the fourth quarter, taking an 87-82 lead on
five consecutive points by Padgett.

Golden State repeatedly pulled within two points in the final 90
seconds, but Malone hit a long jumper, and Russell tipped a
critical offensive rebound to John Stockton with 27 seconds left.

After Jason Richardson's 3-pointer pulled Golden State within
100-99, Russell hit one free throw with five-tenths of a second
left, then expertly banked the second shot off the rim to run out
the clock.

Antawn Jamison scored 25 points and Larry Hughes had 19 for
Golden State, which lost for the 10th time in 11 games. The
Warriors had six players in double figures.

After a brief surge when Winters took over for Dave Cowens, the
Warriors are back in the underachieving form that sunk them to the
bottom of the Pacific Division -- though the coach and his players
both see positive signs from their downward spiral.

"We've been doing a great job of making a game out of it. Our
defense has really stepped up," said Jamison, usually not known
for his optimistic disposition after losses. "Guys have to
continue to stay positive, stay focused and keep working hard, and
we will definitely go in the right direction."

Game notes
Of course, Sloan wasn't completely happy with the win. He
made a postgame swipe most likely directed at John Starks, who
played just two minutes. "We have some guys kind of riding it out
right now. They're not putting the extra effort into it. ... If
you're shooting the ball in the 30-percent range and you don't go
work out, you're saying it's not important enough. We've had some
guys (show) the game is not that important to them." ... Backup
forward Chris Mills had the flu and didn't dress for the Warriors.
... Utah has won in 10 of its last 11 trips to Oakland, with the
only loss coming last season. ... The Jazz won for the first time
on their three-game road trip.

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