Jeff Hornacek is known primarily as a shooter. He's no slouch dishing off the basketball, either.
Hornacek recorded his 5,000th career assist and made a key steal in the final 10 seconds as the Jazz beat Vancouver 85-80 Friday night and snapped a two-game road losing streak.
The Jazz extended their all-time record against the Grizzlies to 14-0.
"It's tough because you're on a team with a guy who's got 13,000 (assists)," said Hornacek, referring to John Stockton, the NBA's all-time assist leader. "I think especially playing most of my career at the 2 spot, I'm kind of proud of that. Not many guys that play the 2 spot get that many assists. And that's just part of playing the game. Some night I might score 20 or I might score five, but passing, you can always do."
Hornacek, who entered the game needing five assists for 5,000, got exactly that many. He notched his fifth when he set up Greg Ostertag for an open dunk that gave the Jazz an 83-78 lead with 38 seconds remaining.
"With our style of offense, getting the ball into Karl (Malone) and John (Stockton) off cuts for easy layups, that's almost better than making a basket for two points," said Hornacek.
Stockton was especially happy for his teammate.
"It's great because it finally calls attention to him a little bit," said Stockton. "The man is a fantastic basketball player. He can't jump over anybody or out-run many people but he's a fantastic basketball player. ... I'm happy for him."
Malone led the Jazz with 26 points and eight rebounds, and snapped out of an horrendous shooting slump. Finishing 10-for-20 from the field, it was Malone's best shooting percentage in seven games.
Shareef Abdur-Rahim, coming off a 2-for-17, 16-point performance in Wednesday's 95-90 overtime loss to Philadelphia, led the Grizzlies with 30 points an nine rebounds while rookie Mike Bibby added 16 points. The Grizzlies, who dropped to 5-23, have now lost 17 of their last 18 games.
Notably, the Grizzlies' last five losses have been decided by no more than five points, all against plus-.500 opponents.
Numbers like that are keeping Grizzlies coach Brian Hill sane, considering he's missing three regulars, including center Bryant Reeves, who underwent arthroscopic surgery earlier in the day to repair a tear to the cartilage in his right knee.
"I think it's a great string of effort," said Hill. "As desperately as we need a win, I mean if we were coming out here and getting blown out and not being competitive and losing games, I'd be a lot more discouraged."
"We've need to bust through and get a win."
After blowing an 11-point first-half lead, and falling behind by as many as 10 points in the third quarter, the Grizzlies battled back to make it close.
A 7-0 run, capped by Abdur-Rahim's 3-point shot cut the Jazz lead to 60-57 going into the fourth quarter.
The Grizzlies tied the game 66-66 on Bibby's 19-foot jumper with 7:45 left, but the Jazz responded by reeling off five straight points.
The game wasn't decided until the dying seconds.
Vancouver's Tony Massenburg tipped Abdur-Rahim's miss to cut the Jazz lead to 83-80 with 27.1 seconds left.
On Utah's ensuing possession, Malone blew an opportunity to restore the Jazz's five-point edge when he missed two free throws.
Abdur-Rahim got the rebound on the second miss but had the ball stolen out of his hands by Hornacek, who was fouled and then hit both free throws to clinch the victory.
Down 42-35 at the break, the Jazz went on a 14-1 run to take a 49-43 lead.
Abdur-Rahim lamented the rebound that got away to Hornacek.
"He made a great play," said Abdur-Rahim. "I just have to be stronger with the ball. I didn't see him coming."
Notes: After the Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this season, the Jazz are the only Western Conference team Vancouver has yet to beat in its three-plus seasons. ... Abdur-Rahim had a 23-point first half and his 11 field goals matched a franchise record for most field goals made in one half. ... The Jazz are 1-2 when giving up 100 or more points this season. All three of those games were decided in overtime. ... Reeves underwent successful arthroscopic surgery to repair a slight cartilege tear in his right knee on Friday and will be out for up to four weeks. In placing Reeves on the injured list, the Grizzlies activated rookie forward Makhtar Ndiaye.
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