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Pacers prove too much for Jazz

Though it goes in the books as a meaningless preseason game, the Utah Jazz got a taste of what life without John Stockton might be like in an 89-80 loss to the Indiana Pacers Friday at Market Square Arena.

"Guys weren't moving to receive passes," said Sloan. "They got real comfortable with John. Now we've got to get them out of their rocking chairs and give our point guards a chance to compete."Howard Eisley and Jacque Vaughn combined for nine turnovers, but Sloan wasn't doubting their ability to fill in for Utah's injured all-star.

Eisley started and finished with seven points and five assists in 26 minutes of play, while Vaughn turned in his best performance as a Jazzman. The rookie from Kansas scored 15 points and grabbed five rebounds.

"Jacque played hard and had a nice finish," said Sloan. "It's exciting to see someone play with enthusiasm."

Karl Malone, who finished with a game-high 18 points, said the preseason is for working out sluggishness. He hopes, however, that the reality of Stockton's injury is accepted by his teammates. After undergoing knee surgery, the veteran guard is expected to miss two to three months of the regular season.

"It's got to sink in," Malone said before the game. "We've just got to be ready to play."

Utah opened the game with a 6-0 run and though the lead changed hands four times and the score was tied on three occasions, the Jazz held a 38-33 halftime advantage over the Pacers.

"Then we quit playing," said Sloan. "We started complaining about every foul and then we put them on the foul line. We had a lot of guys show up and not play tonight."

Both teams shot 31 free throws in the game, but Indiana made 23 - five more than the Jazz. Turnovers also proved to be a factor. Utah had 17 miscues and no blocked shots and the Pacers took advantage - outscoring the Jazz 23-9 on fast-break points.

"I think our guys came out tonight with a lot of firepower," said Indiana coach Larry Bird, who was applauded warmly every time he appeared on the arena's video board. "You like to win them all and protect your homecourt. Even though they don't have Stockton, they're still a very strong team."

Dale Davis led the Pacers with 16 points, while Reggie Miller added 13.

The teams meet again tonight, 181 miles away at Sloan's alma mater, the University of Evansville. The Jazz coach will be honored in pregame ceremonies. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. (MDT).