Work in Sports
Sadness in Seattle
Malone hits milestone as Sonics swoon
Posted: Tuesday April 25, 2000 11:55 AM
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Twenty-three points were more than enough this time for Karl Malone and the Utah Jazz.
Malone had fewer than half the 50 points he scored in Game 1, but the Jazz didn't need nearly that many Monday night in a 101-87 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics. Utah took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
"I'll take everybody getting involved instead of me scoring 50 every night," Malone said.
Game 3 is Saturday at Seattle, which trailed by 17 at halftime Monday and 27 at the end of three periods. Only 12 teams have rallied to win a series after trailing 2-0, and none since the Houston Rockets in 1995.
"I think the Jazz were vintage tonight. They were outstanding in every way, and we weren't good in any way," Seattle coach Paul Westphal said. "It was a great game for them, a bad game for us. We need to play a lot better."
John Stockton had 21 points and 11 assists for the Jazz, who shot 56 percent and rested their starters in the fourth quarter. Bryon Russell added 19 points, and substitute Howard Eisley had 15, including four 3-pointers.
"We had a few things going decent for us," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said in a vast understatement. "I thought we were alive defensively, and when you're alive defensively you've got a chance every night. It's good to see the team with that type of enthusiasm."
Malone became the fourth player in NBA history with 4,000 points in the playoffs, joining Michael Jordan (5,987 points), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (5,762) and Jerry West (4,457).
He passed the 4,000-point mark on a layup with 4:32 left in the third period on an assist from -- who else? -- Stockton. Malone finished the game with 4,004 playoff points.
Horace Grant, who had primary responsibility for guarding Malone, said the Sonics may have spent too much time worrying about Malone and not enough about the rest of the Jazz.
"Whenever you go out and play defense like that, you're going to lose ballgames. We didn't have a clue," Grant said. "Our main goal was to try to limit Karl's touches. But when Bryon Russell got going and Stockton started hitting 3s, it was tough. You can't let other guys hurt you the way they did."
Gary Payton had 20 points for the Sonics, but also had seven turnovers and just one assist. Rashard Lewis added 19 for Seattle, which never led.
Ahead 57-40 at halftime, the Jazz opened the second half with four straight baskets -- two by Malone -- to build their margin to 25 points. A no-look backward layup by Jeff Hornacek made it 73-47 with 6:35 left in the third period.
The Jazz led 86-59 entering the fourth quarter and scored seven straight points, including a long 3-pointer by Eisley as the 24-second clock expired, to take a 93-59 lead.
The Jazz went 6-for-11 on 3-pointers in the first half, with Russell, Stockton and Eisley hitting two each, and Utah took a 17-point halftime lead. The Sonics were just 2-of-6 on 3-pointers in the half.
Stockton, who hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the half to give Utah its margin, and Russell each had 13 points in the first half. Payton had 13 for Seattle, but he had five turnovers and no assists in the half.
Utah opened the game with a 10-2 run that included consecutive 3-pointers by Russell, but Seattle responded with eight straight points to tie it. The Sonics tied the game again at 12, but trailed the rest of the game.
Notes: Seattle's Emanual Davis sat out his second straight game
with an injured facial nerve. He missed the last 16 games of the
regular season with the same problem. ... Adam Keefe missed his
second straight game for Utah with a strained right hamstring. ...
Hornacek had six points to push his career playoff total to 1,996.
He could become the 31st player to reach the 2,000-point mark,
though Kevin Johnson of the Phoenix Suns could beat him there.
Johnson has 1,999 points. ... Payton, who played all 48 minutes in
Game 1, played every minute of the first three quarters Monday, but
sat out the final period.