Against a better team, the Utah Jazz might have been in trouble. But the Jazz didn't need to play their best to beat the Los Angeles Clippers.
Karl Malone scored 15 of his 24 points in the second half, and the Jazz held the Clippers without a field goal during a 6:40 span of the fourth quarter in a 94-79 victory Monday night.
"I didn't think we played very well," Jazz guard Jeff Hornacek said. "Yeah, we won the game, but we should have done better with the situation we had out there. We got away with it tonight, but in previous games we haven't gotten away with playing like that."
The closest Los Angeles got in the second half was 49-43 on Taylor's running jumper with 7:23 left in the third quarter. But the Jazz got 12 points in the quarter from Malone, including a short jumper that increased Utah's margin to 65-52 seconds after Greg Ostertag blocked Derek Anderson's layup.
"We just tried to concentrate on having the inside clogged a little bit more," Hornacek said. "In our last couple of games, when guys drove to the basket, everyone kind of looked at him as he layed it in. But our guys did a better job of stepping over tonight and not allowing it."
Utah opened the fourth quarter with a 14-foot jumper by Howard Eisley and a layup by Bryon Russell to take a 74-56 lead, its biggest to that point. The Clipper got no closer than 11 the rest of the way.
Lamar Odom, the Clippers top draft pick who averaged 23.7 points in his first three NBA games, missed his first six attempts from the field and finished with 10 points on 2-for-10 shooting. The highlight for Odom came in the third minute of the game, when the 6-foot-10 rookie blocked a layup by Malone after John Stockton's steal triggered a four-on-one break.
"This is a learning experience every night for Lamar," coach Chris Ford said. "He'll respond in a positive manner against San Antonio. Let's give him a chance to grow as a basketball player."
Although Eric Piatkowski sat out his third straight game because of bruised ribs and Eric Murdock was sidelined with a sore right knee, Clippers coach Chris Ford decided to go with a seven-man rotation the entire game and watched his team slip to 2-2.
Hornacek paced the Jazz (2-2) to a 25-16 lead after one quarter with 12 of his 16 points. Utah led 45-35 at halftime despite a second quarter Russell would like to forget. Moments after his slam-dunk attempt caromed off the back rim, he blew an easy layup on a fast break against little resistance from the Clippers' defense.
Los Angeles went on an 8-0 spurt early in the second quarter to trim a 10-point deficit to 29-27. The Jazz responded with a 16-6 run that gave them their biggest lead of the half, 45-33, with with 2:18 remaining.
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed