On a night when the Jazz had a special evening planned for Karl Malone, the Washington Wizards would be the only ones celebrating. The Wizards would win in the Delta Center for the second time in as many years with a 109-97 victory.

Gilbert Arenas lead the Wizards with 31, Antawn Jamison, and Caron Butler also added 27 for the Wizards who made a team record 16 three point baskets. Carlos Boozer lead the Jazz with 30 points, and Andrei Kirilenko added 21 more for Utah.

The Jazz started the game off with three free throws from Carlos Boozer, but the Wizards would hit their first three pointer shortly after. Utah would once again take the lead on a Deron Williams jumper, but after that it was all Washington.

The Wizards would toy with the Jazz much of the first half, leading by as many as eight twice, before letting the Jazz come back within one or two points before the Wizards would hit another three pointer.

The Wizards lead 24-17 with less then two minutes to go in the first period, when the Jazz made one of their many runs. Utah cut the lead to 24-23 following a Carlos Boozer dunk with less then a second to go. Boozer would finish the quarter with 10 points, and Kirilenko would finish with four assists.

The Wizards would maintain a two-to-three point lead for much of the early second quarter, before Matt Harpring tied the game at 29. The Wizards would immediately hit a three on the ensuing possession and take control of the game from there.

The Wizards would build up an 11-point lead with less then four minutes to go before the Jazz began to chip away at it. The Jazz eventually got the lead to 47-41 after Devin Brown made one of two free throws with three seconds to go in the half, but Antawn Jamison would hit a half court three pointer at the buzzer, to put the Wizards up 50-41 at the half.

During half time the Utah Jazz retired #32 in honor of Karl Malone. The Ceremony included Malone, his former running mate John Stockton, former teammates Pace Mannion, Thurl Baily, Mark Eaton, Jeff Hornacek, Tyrone Corbin, Matt Harpring, Greg Ostertag, Andrei Kirilenko and Jarron Collins. It also included Jazz Owner Larry H. Miller, his wife Gail Miller. Malone’s fire coach Frank Layden, His long time coach and current Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, long time assistant coach Phil Johnson. Malones college coach at Louisiana Tech. Malone’s wife and children, including his daughter, WNBA star Cheryl Ford. And it also included NBA commissioner David Stern and vice-president Russ Granick.

Malone’s #32 will join the rafters along with the numbers of; Frank Layden(1), Pete Maravich(7), John Stockton(12), Jeff Hornacek(14), Darrell Griffith(35), and Mark Eaton(53).

The Second half started out great for the Jazz as they cut the Wizards lead down to four, but once again Washington’s three point barrage kept the Jazz at bay. After cutting the lead down to four the Jazz allowed the lead to get up to as high as 16.

The Jazz made another run late in the third behind Boozer and Kirilenko, cutting the lead to eight. But more Washington threes kept the lead in double figures for the Wizards.

At the end of the third the Jazz had managed to get within 10.

The fourth quarter saw more Washington three pointers, most by Butler and Arenas. Arenas who had been quite in the first half; ignited in the second half scoring 21 of his 31 points, and making six three pointers.

The Wizards built a 97-86 lead before the Jazz went on a run to cut it to 97-93. However, Washington went back to their favorite tactic, the three point shot. This time a trey by Antonio Daniels silenced the Delta Center Crowd and put a dagger into the Jazz.

The Jazz would never get any closer, as the Wizards made their free throws down the stretch. Utah has now lost five of their last seven.

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    Written By:
    Bran Faurschou


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