Karl Malone scored 31 points on a milestone night and John Stockton added 13 points and nine assists Saturday as the Utah Jazz defeated the visiting Los Angeles Lakers 106-91 despite 31 points by Shaquille O’Neal.
Malone moved into fourth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list ahead of Moses Malone. He finished the game with 27,440 points. He now trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan.
The Jazz won their fifth straight and improved to 14-1 for March. The Lakers’ five-game winning streak came to an end. It was the first time the Jazz beat the Lakers in three tries in a season.
On a night of successful basketball for the state of Utah, the Jazz held on to their slight lead for the best record in the Western Conference, while the capacity crowd of 19,911 kept one eye on the game and one eye on the score of their hometown University of Utah Utes’ victory over North Carolina in the NCAA semifinals.
Indiana’s Reggie Miller has been suspended for one game without pay and fined $7,500 for flagrantly elbowing Charlotte’s Vlade Divac.