While the Lakers try to extend their team-record home winning streak to 26 games, Malone will serve a one-game suspension for elbowing Dallas guard Steve Nash during a 114-103 win over the Mavericks on Thursday.
The suspension, handed out Friday, marks just the 11th game Malone will miss in his 19-year career—seven because of suspensions and four due to injuries.
“Yes, I’m disappointed there will be no Karl Malone,” Jazz forward Matt Harpring said. “In the summer, I was looking forward to playing them because I wanted to play against Karl. But we obviously have our hands full even without him, and we’ll get a chance to play him three more times.”
Malone is scheduled to make his return to Salt Lake City on Jan. 24 when the Lakers visit Utah in the next meeting between the teams. The 14-time All-Star spent 18 seasons with the Jazz before leaving as a free agent last summer.
“I want to see him,” Utah forward Andrei Kirilenko said. “He’s a great player, one of the best all time. I want that matchup. I want to be able to say one day that I played against Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone.”
Los Angeles has won eight straight overall and has not lost a regular-season game at Staples Center since falling to New York on Feb. 16.
Kobe Bryant scored 32 points and Shaquille O’Neal had 25 points and 19 rebounds as the Lakers held the Mavericks to 37 percent shooting in Thursday’s win, handing Dallas its first home loss of the season.
“We felt we were in control the whole game,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “We had an idea of what we wanted to do and we did it.”
With the Sacramento Kings suffering their first home loss Friday, the Lakers are now the only NBA team yet to be beaten at home this season.
The Jazz bounced back for an 86-67 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday after having a four-game win streak snapped Wednesday with a loss at Houston.
Harpring had 20 points and Utah held the Clippers to a season-low point total to improve to 10-1 at the Delta Center this season.
“I thought our team defense was the key tonight,” said Harpring. “Our guys in the post really helped out. Our team defense frustrates a lot of teams that play against us.”
The Jazz are just 1-6 on the road, allowing more than 98 points per game compared to 86.6 at home.
STANDINGS (through Dec. 5): Jazz - 3rd place (tied), 1 1/2 GB, Midwest Division. Lakers - 1st place (tied), Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Jazz - Harpring, 17.2 ppg; Ostertag, 9.1 rpg; Carlos Arroyo, 6.1 apg. Lakers - Bryant, 22 ppg; O’Neal, 11.4 rpg; Payton, 6.5 apg.
2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Lakers, 3-1.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 19; Lakers, 93-87. At Salt Lake City, Bryant scored 11 of the Lakers’ last 17 points to finish with at least 40 points for the seventh straight game.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Jazz - 1-6 on the road; Lakers - 10-0 at home.