Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/28

Game 1: Friday, November 28th
Game 2: Tuesday, February 24th
Game 3: Wednesday, February 25th
Game 4: Wednesday, March 24th

SuperSonics 81

(7-6, 4-2 away)

Jazz 98


    Coverage: KJZZ

    7:00 PM ET, November 28, 2003

    EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

    1 2 3 4 T
    SEA 21 18 18 2481
    UTAH 25 24 24 2598

    Top Performers

    Sea: B. Barry 20 Pts, 2 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    UTAH: A. Kirilenko 11 Pts, 12 Reb, 6 Ast, 4 Stl, 4 Blk

    Bell scores 25

    SALT LAKE CITY -- Setting a new career high was simple for Raja Bell.

    "I was getting good looks," Bell said.

    Bell scored a career-high 25 points and Matt Harpring added 24 to lead the Utah Jazz to a 98-81 victory over the slumping Seattle SuperSonics on Friday night.

    The Jazz led by as many as 21 points and handled the Sonics without much trouble despite the benching of starting center Greg Ostertag.

    Bell, best known as a defensive specialist before signing with Utah as a free agent, scored mostly on drives to the basket, helping the Jazz to a 25-14 advantage in fast-break points.

    "Matt, Curtis [Borchardt], and Andrei [Kirilenko] were setting some great screens and I was finding myself wide open," Bell said.

    Brent Barry scored 20 points for the Sonics, who played without second-leading scorer Rashard Lewis. Vladimir Radmanovic added 14 points for Seattle, which has lost four of five.

    Lewis, averaging 21.3 points, missed the game to be with his family after the unexpected death of his brother in Houston. Lewis is expected to rejoin the team for Saturday's game against the visiting Rockets.

    Harpring scored eight points in an 11-0 run that lifted Utah to a 72-51 lead with 2:02 left in the third quarter. Seattle coach Nate McMillan pulled all his starters and the Sonics showed some life.

    "I want to see fight. I want to see scrapping," Seattle coach Nate McMillan said. "But that's not what I saw for most of the night."

    Luke Ridnour, who didn't play in the first half, made three 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter as Seattle closed within 77-69.

    But Harpring and Bell capped a 17-5 run with three straight layups to help seal the victory.

    "The system (Utah coach Jerry) Sloan runs and the way he teaches basketball is infectious on their team," Barry said. "They've pulled together and that's a lesson we can learn."

    The Sonics had the look of a team in disarray as players used one-on-one moves, pointed fingers and shouted at each other.

    "I think we've been looking for things to pin bad performances on. But we have to be beyond that," Barry said. "We have to come and put the effort out on the court."

    Seattle had 21 turnovers and 14 assists, and were outrebounded 44-30.

    Ronald "Flip" Murray, who leads the team in scoring with a 22.8 average, shot 4-for-14 one game after scoring just 11 points and didn't play in the fourth quarter.

    The Jazz have been forced to play two rookie point guards since Carlos Arroyo sprained his ankle last Friday against Milwaukee.

    Raul Lopez and Maurice Williams scored 15 points and had 12 assists as Utah improved to 8-1 at home.

    ^Notes:@ The Jazz announced a one-game suspension of starting center Greg Ostertag for an unspecified violation of team rules, but then recanted. Ostertag, who threw a towel into the crowd after being removed from Wednesday's game, dressed but did not warm up or see action. ... Ray Allen, who led Seattle in scoring average last season, should be able to begin full rehabilitation on his surgically repaired right ankle next week. ... Reggie Evans received a taunting technical foul after making a rebound layup in the second quarter.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 81 98
    FGM-FGA 28-70 (.400) 33-66 (.500)
    3PM-3PA 10-24 (.417) 3-8 (.375)
    FTM-FTA 15-24 (.625) 29-35 (.829)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-30 10-44
    Assists 14 22
    Turnovers 21 21
    Steals 13 10
    Blocks 5 9
    Fast Break Points 4 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (1/0) 25 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Brent Barry Barry
    Points: 20
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Andrei Kirilenko Kirilenko
    Points: 11
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 4