Their bodies might be aging, but Karl Malone and John Stockton continue to produce an act that never grows old.
"I believe this and I'll say it until I retire," Malone said. "As long as me and Stock are playing on this team and we're healthy, this team is going to play at least .500 basketball."
Malone, in his 15th NBA season, and Stockton, playing his 16th season, have formed one of the NBA's greatest scoring combinations. Stockton gives all the credit to Malone.
"He looks pretty fresh out there, doesn't he," Stockton said. "Karl's such a great player. He can do so much that he makes everybody else better. Really, I've just been fortunate to be able to find him whenever he's open."
The pesky Timberwolves rallied from a 69-54 halftime deficit to trail 86-80 entering the fourth quarter. But Malone scored eight points down the stretch and the Jazz held Minnesota scoreless over the last 3:17.
Malone held Kevin Garnett, fourth in the NBA with a 26.1 scoring average, to 20 points. Garnett also came in leading the league in rebounding, averaging 14.3 per game, but the Jazz held him to seven boards.
Last week against Utah, Garnett had 29 points and 11 rebounds.
"They were at home," Garnett said. "When you're at home, you've got the fans, you've got the momentum. I know I feel a lot more comfortable at home. Bryon Russell, John Stockon, Malone. They all had a good night tonight."
Asked about Garnett's production drop since Friday, Malone was diplomatic.
Russell scored 14 points and Jeff Hornacek had 12 for Utah.
Minnesota cut the margin to 98-93 on a shot by Sealy but didn't score again. Stockton took control late and found Malone darting through the lane for two late baskets and dished to Russell on another.
Russell, on his bottom after a midcourt scramble for the ball, also found Malone for a dunk that gave the Jazz a 104-93 lead with 1:29 to play.
Malone, who scored a season-high 40 points in Saturday's victory at Milwaukee, said he doesn't feel like he's back in the form that helped him win his second league MVP award last season.
"No, I'm not in a zone yet, but hopefully I can get there," Malone said. "I'm 36, but I feel I can still get better."
The Jazz, meanwhile, have won five straight at the Delta Center after a season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Utah travels to L.A. for a rematch Wednesday.
Utah shot 67 percent in the first half to build a 69-54 lead and led 58-52 two minutes before halftime. The Jazz closed the half with an 11-2 run that included five points in the last 4.7 seconds.
Stockton split the lane for a layup, giving Utah a 66-54 lead. The Timberwolves were lazy on the inbounds pass, and Russell stepped in front of a lob pass for Sam Mitchell and hit a halfcourt 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"It's a classic example of how stuff doesn't go for you on the road," Garnett said.
Minnesota came back in the third quarter, outscoring the Jazz 26-17 to pull within 86-80 entering the final period.
"We got ourselves into a deficit at the half," Sealy said. "We climbed back and made it a four- or five-point game."
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