Facts and figures

"The best pure
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Milestone: 13,000 assists

» Associated Press

With the playoffs just around the corner, the Jazz are rumbling and the Lakers are stumbling.

Karl Malone scored 27 points, Jeff Hornacek added 20 and John Stockton had the 13,000th assist of his career as Utah beat Los Angeles 109-93 Saturday night. The Jazz dominated in their 10th straight win, while the Lakers were down by 23 points in the third quarter and never caught up, losing their third straight.

“It might have seemed easy to you, but it wasn't for us,” Stockton said.

“They're a good team that's just struggling a little, but they'll be tough in the playoffs.”

Stockton's landmark assist came on a pass to Malone, who hit a fallaway jumper with 6:13 left in the first quarter. Stockton has been the league's career leader in the category since 1995; second on the list is Magic Johnson with 10,141.

Typically, Stockton didn't want to talk about another milestone.

“Somebody has to make all those shots, you know,” he said.

The Jazz, who haven't lost in April, improved their league-best record to 31-8. Utah led 52-40 at halftime and made a 13-4 run early in the third quarter that put the game away.

The Jazz have beaten the Lakers in seven of their last eight meetings, sweeping last year's Western Conference finals and winning three of four in the just-completed regular season series.

In their first game since waiving Dennis Rodman on Thursday, the Lakers got a strong inside game from Shaquille O'Neal - and little else. O'Neal had 29 points and 14 rebounds.

Los Angeles' bench managed just eight points - all from Rick Fox, who finished with 24 - in the first three quarters, and Kobe Bryant, the league's ninth-leading scorer, was 6 for 16 from the field and had 17 points and four turnovers.


Utah Jazz guard John Stockton, right, looks to pass against pressure from Dallas Mavericks guard Steve Nash during an April game in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Steve C. Wilson)

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