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Bradley’s flagrant foul still topic of off-day talk

SHARE Bradley’s flagrant foul still topic of off-day talk

DALLAS — A day later, some with the Jazz seemed none too thrilled with the forearm-to-the-head foul that Mavericks center Shawn Bradley delivered to Karl Malone in Saturday's Game 3 of the first-round NBA Western Conference playoff series between Utah and Dallas.

Bradley was called for a type-1 flagrant foul, which resulted in Malone — who was momentarily stunned but otherwise OK — getting two free throws, and the Jazz retaining possession of the ball.

It did not, however, prompt an automatic ejection, as was the case when Jazz center Olden Polynice was booted from Game 2 for wrapping himself around Bradley following a block attempt. In that instance, Polynice was called for a type-2 flagrant.

"O.P. got thrown out of the game for his," forward Bryon Russell said Sunday, when the Jazz practiced at the Tom Landry Fitness Center here. "Shawn Bradley didn't."

Not everyone from Utah, however, seemed bothered that the 7-foot-6-inch ex-BYU center wasn't ejected from Dallas' 94-91 win.

"I think it's a disadvantage for us if they throw him out of the ballgame," said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, who consistently maintains he prefers to play opponents with a full complement of players. "I'd just as soon have him out there."

The Jazz had no plans to file an official complaint with the league regarding Bradley's hard foul, though all flagrants are reviewed by the NBA and subject to further fine and/or suspension anyway.

MOODY MAILMAN: Malone was a man of few words during a mass interview session prior to practice Sunday. He answered questions mostly with one word, or a short phrase, and he seemed particularly perturbed by a query about Bradley, evidenced by this exchange:

Reporter: "What kind of challenge does Bradley present?"

Malone: "What else?"

It's though to tell, though, if the Mailman was really angry, or if he just was performing the pout routine for all the cameras on hand. Later in one-on-one interviews, Malone was observed smiling and chatting at great length.

BE HAPPY: Sloan maintains he will go into Tuesday night's Game 4 on a good night's rest.

"Worry? I'm not worried about anything," Sloan said when asked if he was. "This is a basketball game. Why be worried? I'm not going to drive myself crazy over something I have no control over.

"I always like to see our guys come and play hard — I can't control that, but I'm not going to worry about it. I'm too old to worry about something like that."

BIG BUCKS: Unlike the Mavs, who returned home between Games 1 and 2, the Jazz are staying in Dallas between Games 3 and 4.

Why? "You get a lot more meal money when you stay," Sloan cracked.

STARKS UPDATE: On Sunday the Jazz were again without veteran shooting guard John Starks, who remained in Salt Lake recovering from surgery last Tuesday to remove a damaged testicle.

The Jazz initially said Starks would travel with them to Dallas, but instead he stayed home to rest. Jazz basketball operations vice president Kevin O'Connor termed Starks "day-to-day," and the Jazz said Starks would be re-evaluated before it was determined if he would fly to Dallas for Game 4.

MISC.: After Sunday's practice, Malone reportedly left Dallas for a short hunting trip . . . Start time for Tuesday night's Game 4 was set Sunday. It's 8:30 p.m. Dallas time (7:30 p.m. MDT). The game is the second half of a nationally televised TBS cable doubleheader, following Game 4 in the Milwaukee-Orlando series . . . Jazz forward Donyell Marshall received one vote for the NBA's Most Improved Player award, won recently by Orlando's Tracy McGrady. Mav Steve Nash finished third and Nowitzki tied for fifth with 12 and four votes, respectively . . . Saturday marked the first time in Mavs franchise history that Dallas has won a game televised by NBC. It was 0-6 previously.

E-MAIL: tbuckley@desnews.com