Jazz finally earn back-to-back victories

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah Jazz are on a winning streak.

Jazz guard Mark Jackson passed Oscar Robertson for third place on the NBA career assists list in the first quarter.

"It's a tremendous blessing,'' said Jackson, who had four
assists. "I realize what Oscar Robertson has meant to the game and the player he was. It truly is an honor.''

Jackson needed just one assist to tie Robertson's 9,887. He got
it with an alley-oop pass to Andrei Kirilenko in the first quarter.

On the Jazz's next possession, Jackson fed Karl Malone for a baseline jump shot that moved Jackson ahead of the Big O.

Jackson now has 9,890 assists. Teammate John Stockton is the
all-time leader with 15,259.

Jackson received a standing ovation from the Delta Center crowd
when the accomplishment was announced during a timeout.

"I've got to give a lot of credit to they guys I've played with
over the course of the years and have made me look better than I
am,'' Jackson said.
-- The Associated Press

The Jazz beat Phoenix 99-76 Tuesday night, giving Utah its first back-to-back wins of the season. Two wins in a row generally doesn't spark a lot of celebration, but when it hasn't happened nearly a month into the season there was cause for concern.

"That was probably our best game we have played that has gone wire-to-wire,'' Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "We passed the ball and it seemed that we know what we were doing most of the time.''

Karl Malone had 23 points and eight rebounds, and Andrei Kirilenko returned after missing two games with a bad back and scored 20 for the Jazz, who snapped the Suns' four-game winning streak.

Utah, which never trailed, was 37-for-74 from the floor while
holding the Suns to 37 percent shooting (29-for-78). The Jazz also
outrebounded Phoenix 51-30 and outscored the Suns in every quarter.

"For a change this time we had a lead,'' said Matt Harping, who
had nine rebounds for the Jazz. "We were the aggressive ones in
the first quarter.''

Kirilenko also had eight rebounds.

Stephon Marbury scored 18 to lead the Suns. Joe Johnson and Shawn Marion each finished with 13.

"It was like there was a lid on the basket tonight,'' said Marion, who was 5-for-13.

The Jazz could make it a three-game streak and get within one victory of .500 with a win Wednesday night at Denver, which is off to a 2-8 start.

"This is more of the type of team I expected it to be,'' Sloan said. "We'll be a pretty good basketball team if we can compete on defense like we did tonight.''

After going scoreless for the first 1:57 of the third quarter,
the Jazz scored 29 in the final 10 minutes to pull ahead 79-57. The
Suns were just 6-for-22 and committed five turnovers in the third
as they were outscored 29-17.

Malone scored eight points in the quarter, including five
straight as the Jazz started a 10-3 run.

"We were missing open shots. We were missing layups and we
weren't converting on fast breaks,'' Suns coach Frank Johnson said.

It got worse for the Suns in the fourth, when Kirilenko towered over everybody for a rebound he slammed in to put the Jazz up 83-59. A few minutes later, John Stockton fed Kirilenko for another dunk that gave the Jazz an 89-62 lead.

The Jazz were back at home for the first time since going 2-3 on
a five-game road trip, which wrapped up Sunday with a win at

"We need to keep improving little by little, or a lot by a
lot,'' said Stockton, who had six points and six assists for the

Game notes
The Jazz retired Jeff Hornacek's No. 14 at halftime. The
Suns selected Hornacek in the second round of the 1986 draft. ...
Malone was visibly upset near the end of the second quarter after
being called for fouling Scott Williams during a struggle for a loose ball. Malone argued with referee Bennett Salvatore then swatted a laptop at the scorers' table on his way back to the bench.

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