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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- DENVER 21 26 25 11 83 UTAH 28 21 18 29 96 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: DEN - ANTONIO MCDYESS 25, KEON CLARK 19, JAMES POSEY 12 UTH - KARL MALONE 28, BRYON RUSSELL 16, TWO PLAYERS WITH 12

HIGH REBOUND: DEN - ANTONIO MCDYESS 12, TWO PLAYERS WITH 6 UTH - KARL MALONE 10, OLDEN POLYNICE 6

HIGH ASSISTS: DEN - NICK VAN EXEL 13, GEORGE MCCLOUD 2 UTH - JOHN STOCKTON 11, HOWARD EISLEY 7

ATT: 19,628


Extended Box

DENVER (83) AT UTAH (96)

DENVER REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

CLARK F 43 8-14 3-4 3 3 6 0 3 0 2 19 MCDYESS F 36 10-17 5-8 4 8 12 0 2 1 2 25 LAFRENTZ C 21 1-5 0-0 0 6 6 0 3 0 0 2 POSEY G 31 4-10 2-4 1 2 3 0 0 1 2 12 VAN EXEL G 39 2-12 4-5 0 3 3 13 2 0 2 8 GATLING 24 4-8 1-2 0 5 5 0 4 0 2 9 BOWEN 4 0-1 0-0 1 1 2 0 2 0 0 0 MCCLOUD 24 2-10 1-1 0 1 1 2 1 1 2 6 JONES 9 1-4 0-0 0 4 4 1 0 0 0 2 C HERREN 9 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 1 2 1 0 0 ABDUL-WAHAD DNP - NOT WITH TEAM - SPRAINED WRIST ALEXANDER DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 32-82 16-24 10 33 43 17 19 4 12 83 (.390) (.667) TEAM REBS: 14 TOTAL TO: 13(14 PTS)

UTAH REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

MALONE F 34 9-18 10-11 0 10 10 1 4 0 5 28 RUSSELL F 34 6-13 3-4 0 3 3 2 5 3 2 16 POLYNICE C 18 0-3 0-2 2 4 6 0 3 0 1 0 HORNACEK G 20 5-7 0-0 0 2 2 4 2 0 0 12 STOCKTON G 34 3-9 0-1 1 3 4 11 2 0 1 7 OSTERTAG 21 3-5 0-1 2 3 5 0 1 1 2 6 EISLEY 32 5-9 0-0 0 0 0 7 3 1 0 12 GILLIAM 20 3-5 1-2 0 1 1 2 2 0 1 7 LEWIS 2 1-2 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 VAUGHN 9 2-3 1-1 0 1 1 1 2 0 0 5 KEEFE 15 0-1 0-0 0 5 5 1 1 0 2 0 PADGETT 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

TOTALS 240 37-75 15-22 5 32 37 29 26 5 14 96 (.493) (.682) TEAM REBS: 9 TOTAL TO: 14(10 PTS)

DENVER 21 26 25 11 - 83 UTAH 28 21 18 29 - 96

BLOCKED SHOTS: DENVER - MCDYESS, POSEY, CLARK. UTAH - OSTERTAG 4, MALONE 3, STOCKTON, KEEFE. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: DENVER 3-14 (.214), LAFRENTZ 0-1, POSEY 2-4, VAN EXEL 0-5, MCCLOUD 1-3, C HERREN 0-1. UTAH 7-14 (.500), RUSSELL 1-5, HORNACEK 2-3, STOCKTON 1-2, EISLEY 2-2, LEWIS 1-1, VAUGHN 0-1. TECHNICALS: DENVER - ILLEGAL DEFENSE, UTAH - MALONE. OFFICIALS: RONNIE NUNN, MIKE CALLAHAN, RODNEY MOTT. A - 19,628. T - 2:16.


Box Score

DENVER (83) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Clark 43 8-14 3-4 3-6 0 3 19 Mcdyess 36 10-17 5-8 4-12 0 2 25 Lafrentz 21 1-5 0-0 0-6 0 3 2 Posey 31 4-10 2-4 1-3 0 0 12 Van Exel 39 2-12 4-5 0-3 13 2 8 Gatling 24 4-8 1-2 0-5 0 4 9 Bowen 4 0-1 0-0 1-2 0 2 0 Mccloud 24 2-10 1-1 0-1 2 1 6 Jones 9 1-4 0-0 0-4 1 0 2 C Herren 9 0-1 0-0 1-1 1 2 0 Abdul-wahad DNP - not with team - sprained wrist Alexander DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 32-82 16-24 10-43 17 19 83 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.390, FT-.667. 3-Point Goals: 3-14, .214 (Lafrentz 0-1, Posey 2-4, Van Exel 0-5, Mccloud 1-3, C Herren 0-1). Team rebounds: 14. Blocked shots: 3 (Mcdyess, Posey, Clark). Turnovers: 13 (Clark 2, Gatling 2, Mccloud 2, Mcdyess 2, Posey 2, Van Exel 2). Steals: 4 (C Herren, Mccloud, Mcdyess, Posey).

UTAH (96) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Malone 34 9-18 10-11 0-10 1 4 28 Russell 34 6-13 3-4 0-3 2 5 16 Polynice 18 0-3 0-2 2-6 0 3 0 Hornacek 20 5-7 0-0 0-2 4 2 12 Stockton 34 3-9 0-1 1-4 11 2 7 Ostertag 21 3-5 0-1 2-5 0 1 6 Eisley 32 5-9 0-0 0-0 7 3 12 Gilliam 20 3-5 1-2 0-1 2 2 7 Lewis 2 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 1 3 Vaughn 9 2-3 1-1 0-1 1 2 5 Keefe 15 0-1 0-0 0-5 1 1 0 Padgett 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 37-75 15-22 5-37 29 26 96 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.493, FT-.682. 3-Point Goals: 7-14, .500 (Russell 1-5, Hornacek 2-3, Stockton 1-2, Eisley 2-2, Lewis 1-1, Vaughn 0-1). Team rebounds: 9. Blocked shots: 9 (Ostertag 4, Malone 3, Stockton, Keefe). Turnovers: 14 (Malone 5, Keefe 2, Ostertag 2, Russell 2, Gilliam, Polynice, Stockton). Steals: 5 (Russell 3, Eisley, Ostertag). ____________________________________________ Denver 21 26 25 11 - 83 Utah 28 21 18 29 - 96 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: Denver 1 (Illegal Defense, 3:16 1st). Utah 1 (Malone, 1:01 3rd). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 19,628. T: 2:16. Officials: Ronnie Nunn, Mike Callahan, Rodney Mott.


Game Story

SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- Hair or no hair, he's still Karl Malone.

Sporting a freshly shaved head, the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player scored 28 points as the Utah Jazz rallied past the slumping Denver Nuggets, 96-83.

Malone, who normally keeps his hair neatly trimmed and has served as a national spokesperson for Rogaine, took the floor with the clean-shaven look, which he has sported in the past.

"Speed, it's for speed," Malone joked when asked about his bare cranium. "It's just that Olden (Polynice) and Bryon (Russell) have been messing with me all season and didn't think that I would really do it. I did feel a little lighter out there, I felt like I jumped a bit higher. It felt good and this will be the new look for me."

"I love it," said fellow bald forward Bryon Russell. "We got four of them now, I'm trying to get everybody. If we get all 12 of them bald-headed they you all know I've accomplished something."

Malone buried half his 18 shots and 10-of-11 free throws, grabbed 10 rebounds and combined with shooting guard Jeff Hornacek to fuel a decisive 16-5 fourth-quarter run.

"Down the stretch, we had some defensive assignments that we really got out on them and we made stops and we ran the floor down the stretch," Malone said. "These kinds of wins are really important to us because we are still trying to do some things here ourselves and we're trying to play some good basketball."

Russell scored 16 points and Hornacek and Howard Eisley added 12 apiece for the Jazz, who have won 10 of their last 11 and 16 of 18 to move 3 1/2 games ahead of San Antonio for first place in the Midwest Division. The Spurs suffered a 97-96 loss at Dallas tonight.

Over the last four seasons, the Jazz have lost just once in 13 games against the Nuggets and have won eight straight meetings at the Delta Center dating to a 124-119 setback on December 7, 1996.

Antonio McDyess had 25 points and 12 rebounds for Denver, which has lost nine of 10. Keon Clark scored 19 points and rookie James Posey added 12 for Denver, which shot 39 percent (32-of-82) and held a 43-37 advantage on the boards.

"We just didn't execute down the stretch," Nuggets coach Dan Issel said. "I thought we had some good looks at the basket that didn't go in. We had some turnovers and I thought we looked like a young team looking for a way not to lose and they looked like a veteran team who knew they were going to win the game all along."

John Stockton had seven points and 11 assists for the Jazz, who shot 49 percent (37-of-75) and yielded just 10 points off turnovers.

Trailing 72-67 entering the fourth quarter, the Jazz quickly took their game to another level. Greg Ostertag scored on a follow shot, Armen Gilliam buried an 18-footer and Eisley made a layup to push Utah in front, 73-72, with 9:44 to play.

Clark and Hornacek traded baskets before Clark and Raef LaFrentz made back-to-back layups to give Denver an 80-77 lead with 6:37 remaining.

Gilliam hit an eight-footer, Malone was good from 19 feet and Hornacek drained a 22-footer as Utah pulled ahead for good, 83-80, with 4:59 left.

"We had a chance in the beginning to blow them out, but we didn't as usual and let them get back in the game and had to come in the fourth quarter and pull it out," Hornacek said.

Malone brought the crowd of 19,628 at the Delta Center to its feet when he made an acrobatic layup that turned into a three-point play, stretching the lead to six with 2:56 remaining.

McDyess made a free throw but Hornacek ended any Denver hopes of a comeback when he knocked down a 24-footer with 2:21 left, making it 89-81. Russell followed with a big dunk off a feed from Hornacek and Malone added a 15-footer and a slam as Utah opened a 95-83 cushion with 1:12 to go.

"The third quarter was sluggish for us," Russell said. "But we fought back and we turned it on."

"We just couldn't stay focused through the whole game," Van Exel said. "We got the lead and lost the focus and let them get right back in it. Utah is too good a team to lose your focus against."

Malone came out hot, scoring 10 first-quarter points to give the Jazz a 28-21 lead. But Clark and McDyess, who combined for 22 first-half points, helped Denver cut the margin to 49-47 at the half.

The Nuggets opened the third quarter with a flurry of their own. Posey hit consecutive 3-pointers and McDyess added a tip-in to give Denver a 55-49 lead with 10:13 remaining in the period.

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