SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Raja Bell wasn't allowed to shoot much
last season as a Dallas Maverick. Watching him play with the Utah
Jazz, they now know what they were missing.
Bell, who averaged just 3.1 points with Dallas before coming to
Utah as a free agent, tied a career-high with 25 points. Andrei
Kirilenko added 21 points and 12 rebounds to help the Jazz beat the
Mavericks 108-94 Monday night.
"It was a little bit more special because it was my old team,"
After running off 11 straight points for the Jazz, Bell tried to
get the attention of Dallas owner Mark Cuban, who sat behind the
But Cuban didn't respond and put his head in his hands.
"Yeah, he was out there tonight but he wasn't giving me any eye
contact. I wanted to give him a little bit to tease him," Bell
Utah played the game without coach Jerry Sloan and leading
scorer Matt Harpring. Sloan missed the game to be with his wife,
Bobbye, who has been ill, and Harpring sat out his third straight
game while resting his strained right knee.
"Sometimes the most dangerous animal is a wounded one. That was
a case in point tonight," Bell said.
Utah lost its two previous games without Harpring and managed
just 63 points, the team's second-lowest point total ever, in its
last game against Houston.
"It was a great way to jump back after a couple of
disappointing losses. Everybody simply hustled and worked hard,"
said longtime assistant coach Phil Johnson, who directed the Jazz.
DeShawn Stevenson added 17 points and a career-best 11 rebounds
for the Jazz. Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 points and Antoine Walker had
11 for Dallas, which has dropped six of seven on the road. The
Mavericks were outrebounded 52-33.
"We were terrible and they were terrific. We didn't have a
player that I thought played worth a darn," Dallas coach Don
Dallas led 61-60 in the third quarter before missing eight
straight shots as the Jazz scored 12 consecutive points to take
control. Kirilenko had four points, four rebounds, two blocks and a
steal during the run.
"We had a bad third quarter. They were making a lot of shots
and it seems like we couldn't get a stop," Tony Delk said.
After Dallas' Michael Finley ended the drought with a 3-pointer,
Bell scored 11 straight Jazz points to help Utah put the game away.
Bell's third 3-pointer in a row lifted Utah to a 96-72 advantage
with 7:18 remaining.
"Raja had a great game and really hurt us. We miss him. He was
a great addition to our team last year," Steve Nash said.
"Bell was terrific," Nelson agreed. "He was a good guy for
us. He guarded every night, did all the dirty work. I'm really
happy for him."
On a night when the Mavericks were looking for someone to stem
the Jazz tide, Nowitzki said, "We would have liked to have him
tonight. Obviously he's comfortable with his surroundings here and
you can see what he is capable of."
Dallas' Steve Nash had eight points and three assists,
snapping his string of double-doubles at five games. ... Utah
forward Trevor Ruffin was activated from the injured list after
missing the first 33 games because of an abdominal strain. He was
not in uniform. Ben Handlogten, who injured a knee Dec. 26 against
Toronto, was placed on the injured list. ... Dallas guard Josh
Howard missed the game with a strained left hamstring.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
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