Final

Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 12/20

Game 1: Friday, December 20th
Jazz93Final
Mavericks81
Game 2: Monday, February 3rd
Mavericks92Final
Jazz90
Game 3: Saturday, March 8th
Jazz77Final
Mavericks101
Game 4: Friday, April 11th
Mavericks92Final
Jazz95

Jazz 95

 

Coverage: KJZZ

7:00 PM ET, April 11, 2003

EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

1 2 3 4 T
DAL 19 26 21 2692
UTAH 24 21 23 2795

Top Performers

Dallas: D. Nowitzki 34 Pts, 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Utah: K. Malone 23 Pts, 9 Reb, 7 Ast

Malone scores 24, then talks of playing elsewhere

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Karl Malone walked out of the Utah locker room and cast a suspicious glance at Jazz owner Larry Miller, who was still giving interviews nearly an hour past the final buzzer.

Karl Malone
Malone

Malone had just become aware that Miller publicly criticized him prior to Utah's 95-92 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, and he certainly was wondering whether Miller was doing it again.

''I'll tell you what: I've never looked so forward to a decision as this summer's,'' Malone said, openly discussing the possibility of playing elsewhere next season after spending his entire 18-year professional career in Utah.

Sports Illustrated reported that Malone's wife, Kay, plans to go househunting in San Antonio and Los Angeles this June in preparation for a possible move when Malone becomes a free agent this summer.

Malone said Kay had already scouted a couple of cities.

''Since July of last year, the Jazz had opportunities to say something they didn't. So for my wife to say she wanted to look at other teams if I want to continue to play, God bless and go right ahead. We'll make a decision as a family,'' Malone said.

''It's going to be their decision, ain't going to be mine. I'm a professional. I can play anywhere. If they choose they want to go somewhere else and I want to play, we'll do that.''

Malone's comments were some of his most detailed to date about his thoughts on leaving the Jazz. He had 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as Utah sent the Mavericks to their third consecutive defeat.

Malone was quite surprised to hear that Miller was practically calling him out publicly.

Before the game, Miller went on the Jazz's pregame show and then met with reporters, saying this is no time for Malone's future to be an issue with the Jazz heading into the playoffs for the 20th consecutive season.

It's the latest in a series of public spats -- some small, some big -- between Malone and Miller. And as in the past, this tiff was an outgrowth of Malone's public musings over whether he'd ever leave.

''I've put up with them. I'm not going to put up with them now. If he wants to get into a (public shouting) contest, let's go,'' Miller said. ''To throw disruptive hand grenades is not right. It's not fair to his teammates. It's not fair to the coaches. It's not fair to the franchise. It's not fair to me.''

Responded Malone: ''That's interesting for Larry to say that. We'll just wait and see.''

Andrei Kirilenko added 19 points, nine of them coming down the stretch in the fourth quarter, and John Stockton had 17.

The Mavericks matched their worst slump of the season and dropped two games behind San Antonio in the Midwest Division race. Even a total of 17 missed free throws by the Jazz couldn't help the Mavericks, whose slide comes after they led the NBA standings for the entire season.

Kirilenko had Utah's final miss from the line with 7.1 seconds left, giving Dallas a chance to go for the tie. But Nick Van Exel dribbled the ball off his foot with Kirilenko defending him, and the Mavericks never got off a final shot.

Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 34 points. Raef LaFrentz added 21 and Steve Nash 19.

Although Malone had Utah's gaudiest stat line, the decisive stretch was dominated by Kirilenko.

A dunk by Kirilenko and a putback by Kirilenko gave Utah the lead for good, 80-78, and Kirilenko's 20-footer with 3:51 remaining began a 7-0 run that gave the Jazz an 89-81 lead with 2 minutes left.

Game notes


Michael Finley missed his 13th consecutive game due to a strained hamstring. Mavs owner Mark Cuban said he expects Finley to return Monday against Seattle. ... The teams split the season series 2-2. ... Utah outrebounded Dallas 44-29. ... Greg Ostertag grabbed 13 rebounds but missed all four of his free throws. ... Utah's Matt Harpring had to leave the game in the first quarter after getting his feet tangled up with referee Ted Bernhardt's. He returned in the second period.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
DAL
UTAH
Points 92 95
FGM-FGA 33-76 (.434) 36-72 (.500)
3PM-3PA 13-24 (.542) 2-7 (.286)
FTM-FTA 13-14 (.929) 21-38 (.553)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 5-29 10-44
Assists 19 23
Turnovers 13 14
Steals 6 7
Blocks 3 3
Fast Break Points 5 5
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 30 (1/0) 19 (1/0)

Top Performers

Dallas
Utah
Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
Points: 34
Reb: 8
Ast: 2
Stl: 2
Blk: 1
Karl Malone Malone
Points: 23
Reb: 9
Ast: 7
Stl: 0
Blk: 0