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Jazz get blown out by lowly Clippers
Malone ejected after making 1 of 7 field goals

SHARE Jazz get blown out by lowly Clippers
Malone ejected after making 1 of 7 field goals

Jazz 77, Clippers 103ANAHEIM -- Karl Malone said he felt he was leaving his shooting woes behind after his solid 10-for-20 performance on Friday night in Utah's victory over Vancouver.

Not so fast.

Malone -- and the entire Jazz team, for that matter -- had the ignominy of getting beat up by Los Angeles, 103-77, Saturday night.

No, not by the Lakers -- by the Clippers.

The team that entered the game, as the L.A. Times pointed out, being able to count their wins on one hand with three broken fingers led the Jazz by 20 -- count 'em -- 20 points at the half, 52-32, at the Arrowhead Pond. The Clips led by as many as 29 in the second half, a half that Malone, mercifully, didn't have to live through on the court.

The Mailman -- after going just 1-for-7 from the field -- was ejected from the game with 9:44 remaining in the third quarter after a shoving match with Maurice Taylor. Malone, who had already gotten hit with technical for arguing about a no-call foul late in the first half, scored just seven points on the night before being sent to the showers.

That broke a stretch of 575 consecutive games that Malone had scored in double figures. His partner for the past 13 years, John Stockton, didn't reach double figures either, with just four points. It was the first time since 1987 that both Stockton and Malone were held under double digits in the same game.

Malone's worst scoring performance since the 1991-92 -- when he was ejected early in a game against the Detroit Pistons -- came just one day after he declared his recent slump was ending.

"I'm starting to get it going," said Malone after scoring 26 points on Friday night. "If I can get on a little roll, we'll be tough to beat. I'm starting to feel better and better and I have confidence that I'll start shooting better than I have been."

Malone's slump busting will have to start on Tuesday now, when the Jazz play the Sacramento Kings on the road.

Malone certainly wasn't the only Jazzman who struggled. The entire starting unit had a rough go of it right from the opening tip, as the Clippers jumped out to a 32-13 lead after the first period. Utah, which hadn't allowed a team to shoot 50 percent from the field for a game this year, watched the Clips make 10 of their first 14 shots for 71.4 percent.

The Jazz looked tired and even disinterested to open the game. The Clippers looked like the 1998 Bulls. Tyrone Nesby played the role of Michael Jordan in the first half. Nesby burned Bryon Russell and the Jazz for 15 points in the opening two quarters on 4-for-5 shooting from the field and 5-for-5 from the foul line before finishing with 16 points.

Utah had hoped Saturday's game would give them a chance to rest their starters and get subs like Jacque Vaughn, Todd Fuller and Greg Foster a few extra minutes. And they did. But not because the Jazz were winning in a blowout -- like was anticipated. Instead, Jerry Sloan cleared the bench after essentially waving the white flag midway through the second half with the Clippers up by twentysomething.

First-round draft pick Michael Olowokandi showed some of the potential that made the Clippers use the No. 1 overall pick to select him last June. The 7-footer finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Utah was led by Jeff Hornacek, Todd Fuller and Jacque Vaughn who has just 10 points each.

"We've lost 3 of our last 4 games (on the road)," Sloan pointed out. "If you shoot the ball the way we have -- with the type of shots we've been taking -- you're not going to win many games."

The Jazz have had the tendency all year to play to the level of the competition, with plenty of energy against teams like the Heat, Blazers and Lakers, but with only half-hearted efforts against lottery teams. In addition to the loss to the Clippers the Jazz have been beaten by the Nuggets and Hornets and squeaked out narrow victories against the Grizzlies and in another game against the Nuggets.

Afterward the "Jazzman" Mike Dourus, the fan who wears the Jazz license plate around his neck, was holding a sign that read, "Nice third win."

He was being berated by Clippers fans at the time. And as a matter of fact, it was a nice third win for the young Clips.

The Clippers have now beaten the Jazz at least once every season since the 1989-90 season. It was in Anaheim a year ago -- where the Clippers play a handful of games rather than at their usual home-court in the Los Angeles Sports Arena -- that they downed Utah a year ago too.

The Jazz returned home immediately after the game rather than spending a couple of extra days in California before the game with the Kings. They will fly to Sacramento on Monday afternoon in preparation for Tuesday's game set to begin at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday.