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Jacque Vaughn

Old Jazz still in tune; NBA: Despite a slow start and the oldest starting lineup in the league, Utah shows that it still can keep in step with its younger rivals in the Western Conference.

They have the oldest starting lineup in the NBA, averaging nearly a Methuselahian 35 years a man. They have been written off more times than Ross Perot. Yet nearly two months into the season, the Utah Jazz seems to be again confounding its critics, not to mention its opponents.

After reaching the NBA Finals in 1996 and '97, the proverbial window separating the Jazz from that elusive NBA championship seems to have closed. But leave it to Karl Malone and the rest of his practically geriatric teammates to pry it open -- or in Malone's case, just smash it to pieces with a good forearm shiver.

After a sluggish start that gave credibility to those who believed the Jazz would fall...