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Sloan gives Arroyo shot to show what he can do

DALLAS — Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said backup point guard Mark Jackson's "foot was bothering him a little bit before the game," and that is part of the reason Jackson played only nine minutes in Utah's 101-77 loss at Dallas on Saturday night.

But there is another part, and it is evident in Sloan's answer as to why seldom-used No. 3 point Carlos Arroyo logged 22 minutes — including some when the game's outcome still was somewhat in doubt.

"We were struggling a little bit. And I just thought, 'I need to give Carlos a little bit of an opportunity,' " Sloan said. "It wasn't anything for Mark. Mark deserves to play, too. But I just felt like it didn't look like we have energy, and I thought Carlos had a little bit more energy."

Carrying three point guards always has been tricky for the Jazz, a point conceded by Sloan.

"(Arroyo) needs to play more if I can work him in," Sloan said. "But it's tough to play . . . all three guys at that position when we're trying to win and every game's important to us."

Arroyo did answer the call as well as could be expected in the blowout loss, finishing with five assists and a season-high 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting.

As for Jackson, he finished scoreless with two assists — leaving him 13 assists shy of passing No. 2 Magic Johnson on the NBA's all-time assists list.

And his foot? Jackson did have his right foot taped after the game, but he suggested that was not the reason he played so little Saturday.

"I just go out there when I'm called upon," he said.

ON HARPRING: With two games under his belt since returning from a sprained right ankle, Jazz starting small forward Matt Harpring still is struggling.

Harpring shot just 3-of-8 with eight points Saturday, making him 5-of-15 for 12 points since the return. That's not exactly the standard for Harpring, the Jazz's second-leading scorer this season.

"The way you get back is play," Sloan said when asked about Harpring, who was averaging 17.8 coming into the game.

"But you've got to play both ends of the floor, and get yourself going," Sloan added. "Push yourself. Fight through tough times. That's just the way life is, for some crazy reason."

HMM: Even the Mavs noticed how lethargic the Jazz looked Saturday night.

"They looked a little tired," game-high scorer Dirk Nowitzki said, "and they really didn't look ready to play."

MISC.:Karl Malone had just four boards Saturday, leaving him eight short of passing Nate Thurmond for seventh place on the NBA's all-time rebounding list. . . . He already had a bruised thigh, then got both kicked in the knee and turned an ankle Saturday, which is why Mavs starting point Steve Nash played only 16 minutes Saturday. . . . The Mavericks on Saturday activated forward Popeye Jones (sprained ankle) and placed center Evan Eschmeyer (sore knee) on the injured list. . . . Utah has lost eight of its last 12 against Dallas. . . . Saturday's sellout (20,123) was the Mavs' 32nd in a row.


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com