Thursday, March 20, 2003
War adds douse of reality
The Associated Press
Karl Malone was in the locker room at halftime when President Bush announced that the United States had begun attacking Iraq. A few minutes later, the Jazz-Suns game resumed.
"Coach is saying to get your head in the game, but that's easier said than done. Those could be your brothers and sisters out there," Malone said.
Malone scored 20 of his 34 points in the second half to lead the Jazz to a 99-86 victory in Phoenix on Wednesday night.
"We executed more in the second half," said Malone, 11-of-24 from the floor and 12-of-13 on free throws. "Coming down the stretch we kept pressure on them the whole time without getting caught up in all the other stuff."
That other stuff included Bush's announcement, which was played on scoreboards and video screens at NBA arenas. Games that were already in progress were interrupted during Bush's speech, while games that had not yet begun were delayed.
"It lets you know that this is just a game that you're playing," Malone said.
In other games, Milwaukee defeated New Jersey 104-85, New Orleans downed New York 101-96, Indiana drubbed Boston 102-72, Portland topped Houston 94-83, Golden State defeated Seattle 105-99, Orlando topped Miami 109-93, Memphis crushed Cleveland 128-101, the Los Angeles Clippers downed Denver 91-78, and Toronto edged Atlanta 87-86.
Matt Harpring added 24 for the Jazz, who won their second straight to pull even with the idle Los Angeles Lakers for sixth place in the Western Conference. Greg Ostertag added 13 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks.
The Jazz shot 60.6 percent in the second half (20-of-33) to finish at 47.8, just ahead of their season average of 46.7 percent.
"I thought our offense was a little bit better when everyone was thinking about running it," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "In the second half we did a better job of executing around the basket.
"If we were athletic enough I wouldn't care how we play, but we're not very athletic."
Shawn Marion scored 22 points and Amare Stoudemire added 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns, who have lost four of their last six. They remained tied with Houston for eighth place in the West.
Bucks 104, Nets 85
At East Rutherford, N.J., the Bucks used a 15-2 run to open the fourth quarter to take control and snap a four-game losing streak.
Gary Payton scored 23 and Sam Cassell had 22 for the Bucks, who held the Nets to 12 points in the final 12 minutes. Milwaukee opened a half-game lead over Michael Jordan and the idle Washington Wizards in the race for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
Hornets 101, Knicks 96
At New Orleans, Jamal Mashburn scored 25 and Baron Davis added 23 in his first start in nearly two months.
Mashburn also had eight rebounds and eight assists to help overcome the absence of David Wesley (bruised foot). The victory moved New Orleans ahead of Boston and into fifth in the East, while New York dropped three games behind eighth-place Milwaukee.
Pacers 102, Celtics 72
At Indianapolis, Ron Artest committed his eighth flagrant foul of the season just five seconds after tipoff, then scored 18 points. Artest now faces a two-game suspension.
The Pacers desperately needed the win, only their third in the last 16 games. They remained in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Trail Blazers 94, Rockets 83
At Portland, Ore., Derek Anderson had 21 points and seven assists and Zach Randolph added 14 points for the Trail Blazers, who have won five of their last seven.
The Rockets were again without coach Rudy Tomjanovich, who was resting in Houston after doctors discovered a cancerous tumor on his bladder lining.
Warriors 105, SuperSonics 99
At Oakland, Calif., Antawn Jamison had 28 points and 12 rebounds, and Jason Richardson scored 25. Bob Sura added 15 points for the Warriors, who had their second win in five days over Seattle following a 14-game losing streak to their Pacific Division rivals.
Magic 109, Heat 93
At Orlando, Fla., Tracy McGrady scored 21 of his 36 points in the second half and the Magic made 12 3-pointers.
McGrady had just three points in the first 19 minutes, but scored 10 straight in a 1:40 span to give the Magic a 50-43 lead with 3:18 left in the second quarter. Orlando put the game away with a 15-4 run to start the fourth.
Grizzlies 128, Cavaliers 101
At Memphis, Tenn., Pau Gasol scored 28 points and Jason Williams added 16 points and 16 assists. Six Grizzlies scored in double figures as Memphis won for the seventh time in eight games. Memphis shot 61 percent from the field.
Clippers 91, Nuggets 78
At Los Angeles, Wang ZhiZhi scored a career-high 21 points as the Clippers won for only the sixth time in 27 games.
Raptors 87, Hawks 86
At Toronto, Vince Carter made two go-ahead free throws with 3.7 seconds left to help the Raptors end a six-game losing streak.
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