Originally created 05/15/00

Jazz stay alive with win



SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Jazz are getting older but they're not dead yet.

Karl Malone scored 27 points and John Stockton had 18 as the Jazz beat the Portland Trail Blazers 88-85 on Sunday, trimming Utah's deficit in the Western Conference semifinals to 3-1 and sending the series back to Oregon.

Portland missed a chance to tie at the buzzer when Greg Anthony's 3-point attempt bounced off the rim.

The teams play again Tuesday night in Portland, where Utah has won once in 15 playoff games and lost 13 straight. No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series.

The Blazers called a timeout to set up a play with 6.7 seconds remaining. They worked the ball to Steve Smith, who couldn't get open on the perimeter and fed the ball to Anthony.

His shot was in the air when the horn sounded, and the Jazz broke into a celebration when it was slightly short.

Utah played with an intensity they lacked earlier in the series, with the 36-year-old Malone and 38-year-old Stockton displaying the focus that has made them into the team's leaders for years.

Even Olden Polynice, 35, got into the act, scoring 12 points and collecting 11 rebounds as the Jazz avoided being swept for the first time in franchise history. Bryon Russell added 12 points.

Retiring Utah guard Jeff Hornacek, facing the final game of his 14-year NBA career if the Jazz had lost, had nine points.

Reserve Brian Grant led the Blazers with 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Smith scored 19 points and Rasheed Wallace had 15.

Portland wasn't the well-oiled machine that dominated the Jazz in the first three games. The Blazers committed 16 turnovers, shot 37.5 percent and led only in the opening minutes.

But Portland made it interesting by rallying from a 75-64 third-quarter deficit. Utah led 75-69 entering the fourth quarter and Malone's turnaround jumper with 6:54 remaining made it 81-73.

The Blazers stayed patient. Wallace completed a three-point play and Grant scored twice inside, pulling Portland within 81-80 and forcing a Utah timeout with 4:35 to play.

But Malone hit a 20-footer and two free throws, and Russell drove the baseline for a dunk to give the Jazz an 87-80 lead with 2:11 to play.

After a basket by Wallace, Grant made two free throws with 38 seconds left, trimming the margin to 87-84. The Blazers caught a break when Polynice was called for a foul after a miss by Russell.

Smith made one of two free throws at the other end, pulling Portland within 87-85 with 14 seconds remaining. The Blazers stopped the clock by fouling Armen Gilliam, who made one of two free throws with 6.7 seconds left.