Mailman, Jazz Deliver

Actress Renee Zellweger and actor Sean Connery share a giggle at the Governor's Ball after the 76th Annual Academy Awards at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel on Feb. 29, 2004.
GETTY IMAGES/Kevin Winter

Karl Malone got the scoring milestone out of the way early, then used the rest of the night to show he's a team player.

Malone scored 27 points, passing Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA career scoring list, as the Utah Jazz beat the Golden State Warriors 115-99 Monday night.

With Malone making his first six shots, there was no suspense about whether he could reach the mark. He came in needing six points to pass Jordan, and he did it on an 18-foot jumper with 9:24 left in the first quarter.

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  • "When I finish playing, I'll look back on it and I think it will mean a lot to me then," Malone said. "Being from Louisiana, I wasn't supposed to play at this level. When it's all over, I'll look back and say I was pretty decent."

    There was no suspense about who would win the game, either. Utah built a 16-6 lead and was ahead 41-19 at the end of the first period.

    Malone made 12 of 14 field-goal attempts and narrowly missed a triple double with 10 assists and eight rebounds. He now has 29,299 points, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419). Jordan finished his career with 29,277 points.

    Along with his points, Malone had 10 of Utah's 37 assists. Afterward, he pointed out the assists to support his argument that he's more than a scorer.

    "I've never been bashful about shooting the basketball, but I don't want to be known only as a guy who scored all the time," Malone said. "I also want to be known for my defense and for being a team player."

    During one stretch in the second quarter, Malone had the assist on three straight possessions. He found rookie Scott Padgett for a layup, set up Jacque Vaughn on another basket and then found an open Howard Eisley.

    "He was in good form tonight," said John Stockton, a teammate throughout Malone's career. "I've seen all of those points. He's been tremendous, and consistently. He just keeps getting better."

    Padgett scored a career-high 16 points for Utah. Jeff Hornacek had 16, Bryon Russell 14 and Vaughn 10.

    Damon Jones led the Warriors with 17 points, hitting all five of his 3-point shots. Antawn Jamison and Tony Farmer each scored 15 and Tim Legler had 14 for Golden State.

    The Jazz limited the Warriors to 43 percent shooting in the first quarter and held Jamison scoreless until 4:50 left in the first half.

    Utah led 66-46 at the break and never was challenged in the second half, extending the advantage to as many as 32 points.

    "It was great for Karl to get his mark," Farmer said. "He deserves it all the way and you've got to congratulate the guy. But for us to play the way we did, we're not happy about that part of it."

    The Warriors helped the Jazz pull out of a two-game tailspin.

    "We executed a little better," said Utah coach Jerry Sloan. "We set screens and got a couple of easy baskets because I thought we passed the ball a little bit more."

    Golden State missed three standouts who continue to nurse injuries. Donyell Marshall (tendinitis, left knee), John Starks (tendinitis, right knee) and Chris Mills (sore left ankle) were listed as questionable but didn't play.

    Notes

  • Stockton came close to a scoring milestone of his own. After getting eight points against the Warriors, the NBA's career steals and assists leader needs 15 points to reach 16,000 for his career.
  • Utah has beaten Golden State 10 straight games at the Delta Center.
  • Led by Malone's eight boards, the Jazz held a 41-25 rebounding advantage.
  • Warriors center Adonis Foyle took an elbow to the mouth from Utah's Quincy Lewis and left the game. He had two top-row teeth pushed back and stayed in Salt Lake to see an oral surgeon.

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