Jazz jump all over Kings
Malone, Hornacek lead Utah to easy win over Sacramento
Posted: Saturday May 08, 1999 09:37 PM
Inside, outside, on both ends of the court for 48 minutes -- the Jazz were all over the Kings. Karl Malone scored 21 points and Jeff Hornacek added 18 Saturday as Utah opened a 17-point first-quarter lead, increased the margin in each quarter and trounced Sacramento 117-87 in the first game of their best-of-5 playoff series.
"They jumped on us and never got off," Kings center Vlade Divac said. "They showed why they can be the toughest team in the league."
As they sputtered to the regular-season finish with a 5-5 record in their last 10 games, the Jazz looked tired and out of sorts. But as they opened their 16th consecutive playoff season, the good old Jazz were back -- and the Kings were overwhelmed.
"They took it to us every which way," said Sacramento coach Rick Adelman, whose team had won five straight and 10 of 11 to close the regular season. "This team, they're on a mission."
The Kings, in just their second playoff series in 13 seasons, never figured out how to stop the Jazz, who began the game with a 12-2 run and led 24-8 less than seven minutes in. Runs of 9-0, 8-1 and 6-0 gave the Jazz a 24-point lead early in the third.
"We got to the open court today and got some easy baskets, and we didn't have to rely on the half-court offense," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "They helped us by missing a lot of shots."
The Jazz were 24-for-39 from the field in the first half and eventually outshot the Kings 57 percent to 37 percent. The 30-point margin of victory was Utah's largest lead of the day.
In the revamped Kings' first playoff game together, Sacramento's young stars had games to forget. Chris Webber got in foul trouble early and didn't score until the final minute of the first half, while rookie point guard Jason Williams had 11 points but was benched in the fourth quarter after an afternoon of wild shots.
John Stockton won his duel with Williams, scoring 17 points. Stockton and Hornacek combined for 35 points on 13-of-22 shooting, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.
Greg Ostertag continued his late-season surge for Utah with a career playoff-high 16 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots. He also outbattled Divac, who had dominated Ostertag in Sacramento's regular-season meetings with Utah.
The low point for the Kings may have come when Ostertag, who isn't exactly known for his wide repertoire of post moves, executed a beautiful drop-step and spun around Webber for a dunk late in the third quarter.
"He did it so quick, I didn't even know he did it," Malone laughed. "I'll have to catch it on instant replay."
The difference in playoff experience was brutally obvious. The Kings haven't won a playoff series since 1981 and have just five players who have ever been to the postseason, while the Jazz are veterans of two straight NBA Finals losses to the Chicago Bulls.
"I don't want to say we killed them. Maybe we got on them defensively and just overwhelmed them a little bit," Ostertag said.
Malone, who also had nine assists, scored his 3,700th playoff point and later passed Magic Johnson for sixth place on the career list. Utah coach Jerry Sloan won his 66th playoff game, tying Billy Cunningham for seventh.
Webber led the Kings with 14 points, 10 after halftime. Adam Keefe scored 13 points in fourth-quarter garbage time for the Jazz.
Game 2 of the series is Monday night at the Delta Center.
Notes: Howard Eisley scored seven points in the final 1:21 of the first quarter, including a long 3-pointer with 5.6 seconds left. He then made a steal and hit another 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded, but the officials ruled it came too late. Eisley finished with 14 points. ... Williams threw a temper tantrum on the sideline when officials wouldn't allow him to enter the game late in the second quarter. He loudly cursed referee Jim Clark and the Jazz scorers at courtside before stomping back to the Kings bench. ... Malone picked up a technical foul in the first quarter when he bit on a fake by Scot Pollard and then, while hanging on the rim, blocked Pollard's shot. ... With the game out of hand in the third quarter, Webber took four 3-pointers, making one. Webber was an 11.8-percent 3-point shooter during the regular season. ... Utah outrebounded the Kings 48-38 and out-assisted them 31-14.
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