Sunday , Mar , 28 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Mailman to deliver against Jazz

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Karl Malone will face his former team for
the first time tonight when they Los Angeles Lakers welcome the Utah Jazz to
the Staples Center.

Malone spent the first 18 years of his illustrious career in Utah, before
signing as a free agent in Los Angeles this past summer.

The 40-year-old future Hall of Famer, though, has missed the Lakers’ first
three games against the Jazz, sitting out the first meeting because of a
suspension and missing the next two contests because of a right knee injury
that has caused him to miss 41 games this season.

With Malone in the lineup this year, the Lakers are 26-6.

On Friday, Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 35 points with nine rebounds and
five assists to lead Los Angeles to a 90-73 home-victory over the Minnesota
Timberwolves.

Shaquille O’Neal contributed 22 points and a game-high 18 rebounds for the
Lakers, who have won seven straight.

Los Angeles is 1 1/2 games in front of the San Antonio Spurs for third place
in the Western Conference playoff race and is now just two games back of the
Sacramento Kings for the Pacific Division and overall conference lead.

The Lakers, who will be playing the fifth leg of a seven-game homestand
tonight, have won seven straight and nine of their last 10 at home and are
29-5 in its arena this season.

Los Angeles is 13-1 in Sunday games this season.

Utah, meanwhile, also comes into tonight’s contest rolling after Carlos Arroyo
hit a 10-foot baseline jumper at the buzzer on Saturday to lift the Jazz to an
85-83 win over Denver at the Delta Center.

Arroyo posted a double-double with 19 points and 10 assists, as the Jazz won
for the fourth time in their last five games. Gordan Giricek chipped in 14
points, while Andrei Kirilenko added 13 and seven boards.

With the win, Utah moved a game ahead of Denver for the eighth and final spot
in the Western Conference playoff race.

The Jazz, who are just 1-5 in Sunday games this year, have won five of their
last nine on the road and are 13-24 away from home this season.

LA has taken two of three from the Jazz this season and could have the
advantage on Sunday, as the home team in this series has won eight of the last
10 meetings. The Lakers, who have won six of eight and nine of the last 12
matchups, have also won six straight and eight of their last nine at home
against Utah.

LAL UTA