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Malone Thwarts Clippers

Pro basketball: Jazz star earns his first triple-double of the season in 99-82 victory over pesky L.A.

May 05, 1999| From Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — The Clippers made life tough for the Utah Jazz until Karl Malone took over.

Recording his first triple-double of the season, Malone had 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in a 99-82 regular season-ending victory Tuesday night that helped the Jazz retain a chance at finishing with the best record in the NBA.

"I don't like having things taken out of my hands. I like to take care of it myself on the court," Malone said. "But we put ourselves into this situation, and we've got to deal with it."

The Jazz finished the season 37-13, but they need San Antonio (36-13) to lose tonight at Golden State to claim home-court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs.

San Antonio holds the tie-break advantage over Utah.

Malone, 11 for 13 from the field and seven for nine from the foul line, summed up Utah's attitude toward the game: "We were thinking, 'There's bigger fish to fry.' "

The Clippers, however, never gave the Jazz much breathing room. Utah trailed, 52-49, at halftime, and Lamond Murray's steal and layup with 7:49 to play cut the Jazz's lead to 79-75. The Jazz had used a 20-2 run to lead 67-51 midway through the third quarter.

But Malone recorded an assist and a basket on Utah's next two possessions, and Greg Ostertag scored back-to-back baskets to pull the Jazz out of danger.

"We played very well in the first half, but they really turned up the heat defensively in the third quarter," Clipper Coach Chris Ford said.

The Clippers (9-40) are one game in front of Vancouver (8-41) for the league's worst record--and the best chance at the No. 1 pick in the draft lottery. The Clippers have lost four consecutive games and finished the year 3-22 on the road.

Eric Piatkowski led five Clippers in double figures with 18 points.

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