SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 22 (Ticker) --
With two of their greatest players
in attendance, the Utah Jazz put forth a not-so-great performance against a team that entered the game winless.
had 20 points and 11 rebounds and Lee Nailon
scored four of his 16 points in the final two minutes as the New
Orleans Hornets broke into the win column with a 76-75 triumph
over the Jazz.
Everything seemed to be in place for Utah, which won seven of
its first 10 games this season and had the winless Hornets in
town on the night it chose to honor all-time great point guard
John Stockton. With fellow superstar Karl Malone in attendance,
the Jazz had the crowd at the Delta Center rocking -- until the
After Nailon scored New Orleans' final four points to give his
squad a 76-73 lead with 44 seconds left, Gordan Giricek
bucket for Utah 12 seconds later. Darrell Armstrong
the Hornets and Andrei Kirilenko
of the Jazz was fouled with
four seconds left.
Kirilenko, a 72 percent free throw shooter, who ranks in the top
20 in attempts this season, missed both. On the second miss,
the ball bounced out of bounds off New Orleans with 2.7 seconds
With the crowd clamoring for a dramatic ending as Stockton sat
courtside, Giricek's attempt at the buzzer clanged off the rim.
"I had the shot but I knew it was short," Giricek said. "That
happens. We got our chances. We had momentum in the third
quarter, but in the end we didn't execute well."
Kirilenko admitted that seeing Stockton's jersey retired at
halftime had a positive effect on the Jazz.
"I like John Stockton and we just wanted to win this game,"
Kirilenko said. "We played without any energy in the first half
and in the second half we tried to get back in the game and show
some respect for John."
"Every loss hurts, but tonight especially since the gym was
packed and we retired his jersey," Giricek said. "It's hard, but
I don't want to say that any other loss is less hard."
Kirilenko had 18 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks for
Utah, which has dropped five of its last six meetings with New
The Jazz shot just 35 percent (28-of-79), including missing
eight of nine 3-pointers.
"It's been a long time since we got a victory, and this one was
pleasing because of how well we played in all phases of the
game," Hornets veteran forward P.J. Brown
Utah overcame a sluggish first half and a 19-point deficit in
the third quarter, taking its first lead of the game, 73-72, on
a jumper by Mehmet Okur
with 1:59 remaining.
The Jazz, who came into Monday's contest averaging 101 points
per game, could not get their offense going from the start. The
Hornets scored the first eight points of the game and dominated
the first half of play, finishing up the second quarter on a
14-4 run that gave them a 48-33 lead.
"On offense, we were great, on defense we were communicating,"
Brown said. "That's the kind of basketball we talked about in
"It was a tough game because we made it tough on ourselves,"
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan
said. "We never could get into any kind
of rhythm and had a very difficult time trying to execute our