MALONE TIME:

Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan says there is no mystery to winning in the NBA. Just load the roster with Malones.

The Jazz, shaking off a dismal 3-6 start, has won 11 of its last 12 games and is challenging San Antonio for the Midwest Division lead.

G Jeff Malone, who started as slowly as the team after being traded from Washington, has been a key in the turnaround. He has averaged 26.7 points in his last six games, including 43 and 29 in the last two.

"He's a guy who can make the shots," Sloan said. "He gets in a rhythm and he can give you instant baskets."

Malone is vital to Sloan's scheme to loosen defensive pressure on F Karl Malone, the Jazz's leading scorer (27.7 ppg), and all-star G John Stockton (16.2 points, 14 assists a game).

NO CONTEST:

Lakers F James Worthy pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges of solicitation of prostitution and was sentenced to one year probation and fined $1,000, his attorney said.

The five-time all-star was arrested Nov. 15 at a Houston hotel after he allegedly consulted the yellow pages and called an escort service.

The escort service earlier had been shut down by police, and two female undercover officers responded to Worthy's request, police said.