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However long the rest of the Jazz-Clippers playoff series lasts, it's no big secret how it will be played: hard, mean and fast. Sunday afternoon set the tone for the remainder of the series. When Kenny Norman wasn't flinging John Stockton to the floor, Olden Polynice was body-slamming with Karl Malone. When Malone wasn't wrestling with Polynice or Charles Smith, he was taking it out on an unsuspecting headset along press row. Oh well. The Clippers promised more contact and they delivered.

Strategy aside, Clippers couldn't overcome the Jazz, who pulled away at the end with a 103-92 victory. The series now stands at 2-0 and theJazz can wrap it up Tuesday night in L.A.

"Sure it's 2-0, but we don't want to go over there and lay an egg," said the Mailman. "We'll just do our best and see what happens."

What happened Sunday was easier to see coming than an Iraqi SCUD. After the Jazz routed the Clippers on Friday, the Clippers vowed to return with an increased show of force. Sure enough, as soon as first tip went up, the Clippers set after the Jazz with a vengance, hoping to ward off a fast run of points that could do them in early.

"Yeah, we played more physical," said the Clippers' Doc Rivers. "And they did too. We do physical things and, hey, they're just as physical as we are. But we're gonna continue. We have to play them that way."

"It doesn't take a genius to figure out they'd be more physical," said Malone, who scored 32 points for the second straight playoff game. "We knew that from the start."

Changing their style from Game 1 was nothing short of a necessity for the Clippers. In the opener, the Mailman ran over them from start to finish, charging inside for dunks and layups at will. After an embarrassing 21/2-hour film session Saturday morning, the Clippers came out with a revised plan: Get mean or get packed for the summer.

Not wanting to back down, the Jazz got themselves in trouble early in the game when Stockton, trying to keep Rivers from posting him up, drew his second foul just four minutes into the game. That sent Stockton to the bench and helped the Clippers go from an 8-3 deficit to a 15-11 lead.With 5:11 to go in the first quarter, Polynice came in to try his hand at stopping the Mailman; nine seconds later he had his first foul. Malone completed a three-point play on the free throw and the Jazz had cut the Clippers' lead to one.

"If you back down on Karl Malone, he'll get a hundred points," said Rivers.

Though Malone was still getting his points, the Clippers didn't abandon their plan. They went hard to the boards, sometimes going over the Jazz players' backs. Responding in kind, the Jazz were called for a series of fouls that soon had them struggling.

"They stroked us right into their game from the beginning," said Jazz center Mark Eaton. "They took us out of our offense."

Toward the end of the first period, the Jazz were still trying to adjust to the Clippers and their new, stubborn demeanor. The Mailman drew a charge late in the period and soon after, the Clippers built their lead to 28-22 at the end of the quarter.

"They took us out of our game for a little bit and and they had control of the game for the most part," coach Jerry Sloan said.

Though the Clippers held the lead through much of the second period, the Jazz finally got back, outscoring the Clippers 8-0 to end the half. As the half came to a close, L.A.'s Kenny Norman hammer-thew Stockton to the floor. No call. Though Stockton looked around for a whistle, all he got was a blank stare.

"I've never been opposed to physical games," said Stockton. "There are rules. It's not like you put the gloves on."

Sometimes it's worse.

Midway through the third quarter the Jazz began to pull away, outscoring the Clippers 12-3, to take a 71-62 lead. But even then the Clippers stayed at their task. Veteran James Edwards hooked arms with the Mailman and both went to the floor, with Malone being called for a foul. When he arose, the Mailman stormed along press row, yanking on a pair of headsets and drawing a technical.

"I'd rather do something myself that may cost me a $100 fine than do something silly and get the other team motivated and get a $20,000 or $30,000 fine," said the Mailman. Asked about falling to the ground with Edwards, Malone smiled. "I fell," he said facetiously. "I'm clumsy, man. Clumsy as hell."

The Clippers came back from a 10-point deficit to tie the score at 82, but soon the game was out of reach. The Jazz scored eight unanswered points to put the game out of reach. While Malone jostled with Norman down low, Mark Eaton clogged the lane. Tyrone Corbin landed a clutch jumper with 39 seconds remaining, giving the Jazz a 96-89 lead.

L.A. went out firing up 3s, while the Jazz extended the lead on free throws.

Danny Manning and Ron Harper led the Clippers with 22 and 20 points, respectively. The Mailman got help from Jeff Malone, who added 24 points and Stockton, who contributed 21 points and 19 assists.

Though the Clippers lost, they openly admitted that trading bruises with the Jazz is the only way to go. "We have to keep playing physical," said Rivers.

Which is fine with the Jazz. "It's OK with me," said Corbin. "When you look at this club, we don't have little thin guys. Being physical is part of being in this league. Karl Malone loves that stuff."