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Jazz Streak To Sixth Straight

The shot at the buzzer was no good. John Stockton thrust his left fist into the air, let out a victorious yelp and dashed out of the locker room and down the hallway. The only NBA player from Gonzaga was celebrating the Bulldogs' one-point victory in the NCAA tournament Thursday.

Oh, and by the way, Stockton's Utah Jazz had just defeated the Washington Wizards, 95-87.

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Game Summary

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  • "I just excited for those guys," said Stockton, who plays pickup ball with some of the Gonzaga players every fall before the NBA season starts. "They've worked very hard. It feels very good to know them and see them succeed. That just makes me feel good."

    Stockton said he tried to avoid watching the scoreboard while the Jazz were playing, but any distraction he had was cured by the fact that his backup, Howard Eisley, was the star of the game.

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    Eisley had a season-high 17 points, a career-high 10 rebounds and scored 13 straight Utah points in the second half as the Jazz ran their winning streak to six games.

    "He was everywhere," Stockton said. "Getting loose balls. We'll tease him about it."

    Karl Malone added 24 points and made all 12 of his free throws for the Jazz, who raced to an 18-2 lead and never trailed again while fending off several Wizards runs. Washington got as close as one point in the third quarter and within three in the fourth, but Utah responded each time with a run of its own.

    Rod Strickland, back after missing six games with a right groin strain, had 21 points and 11 assists for the Wizards, who have lost four of five. Poor shooting hurt them again, with Mitch Richmond going 4-for-17, Otis Thorpe 4-for-11 and Juwan Howard 9-for-22 as part of a 39 percent performance by the team.

    "I felt good all night," Richmond said. "The shots just didn't go in. ... We played better, but we don't have any room for moral victories. We've got to get the job done. We need to turn it up soon."

    Esley's streak began near the end of the third quarter with a 3-pointer, ended three minutes into the fourth with another 3 and included a desperate 17-footer that banked off the glass as the shot clock expired.

    The final 3-pointer in Eisley's barrage started a 10-3 Jazz run that increased the lead from 73-70 to 83-73. Eisley had two of his five assists during the run, both to Malone.

    It was another example of fourth-quarter woes for the Wizards, who got only one basket in the first 4 1/2 minutes and just 19 points total in the period.

    "We can't continue to get behind like this," sand Howard, who scored 20 points. "Whether it's against a first-place team or a last-place team."

    Notes: The Wizards signed 7-foot-1 center John Coker, cut last month by the Houston Rockets, to a 10-day contract before the game. Coker played five minutes and had four points. Rookie forward Randell Jackson was placed on the injured list with tendinitis in his left knee. ... Wizards guard Tim Legler, sidelined the previous 18 games with a sprained right ankle, played seven minutes and scored three points. ... The Wizards played Miami, the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference, on Tuesday game before meeting Utah, the top team in the Western Conference. They lost both by similar scores: 94-85 and 95-87. ... The Jazz have won 22 of their last 26 against the Wizards, although Washington won both meetings last season.

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