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Archive for Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Utah claims 109-98 win over Mavs

Malone, Russell lead way as Jazz take 2-0 lead in first-round series

April 25, 2001

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— Old guys 2, Youngsters 0.

Karl Malone scored 34 points and Bryon Russell had 24 as the Utah Jazz beat the Dallas Mavericks, 109-98, in another emotional contest on Tuesday night, building a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five first-round playoff series.

The Jazz outhustled, outmuscled and outplayed the Mavericks for three quarters, then held on in the fourth.

The Mavericks trailed by 20 points late in the third quarter but outscored the Jazz 15-6 over the first six minutes of the fourth. Dallas pulled within 90-87 when Dirk Nowitzki hit a 3-pointer and was fouled by Russell.

He made the ensuing free throw, and the Jazz seemed to be in trouble. But Malone and John Stockton, who scored 17 points in 42 minutes, had all of Utah's points in a 6-0 run that steadied the ship.

Michael Finley led the Mavericks with 32 points while Steve Nash scored 20 and Juwan Howard had 17.

The Delta Center was rocking and the intensity on the court was turned up for Game 2, which came after Dallas coach Don Nelson claimed the Jazz manipulate referees and the Mavericks brashly predicted they could win.

After five individual technical fouls were called in Game 1, there were six in the first half alone Tuesday. And five minutes into the second half, Utah's Olden Polynice was ejected after a flagrant foul on Shawn Bradley.

There was spitting, with Vernon Maxwell of the Mavericks hacking onto the floor. And there was blood, as Russell was treated for a cut below his left eye after he drew a charge on Calvin Booth's third-quarter dunk attempt.

Maxwell was ejected late in the third quarter after his second technical.

The teams combined for 70 personal fouls, seven individual technicals, one flagrant foul and two ejections.

There also were words exchanged between Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Mavericks, and Jazz coach Jerry Sloan as the teams went to a timeout with 2:54 remaining.

Ultimately, however, it was decided by Malone's 10 fourth-quarter points and Stockton's deft leadership with the outcome in the balance.

Utah led 53-41 at halftime and extended the lead to 83-63 with 1:05 remaining in the third quarter after Russell connected from three-point range on consecutive possessions.

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