SAN ANTONIO (AP)—A decade of misery for the Utah Jazz in San Antonio is over.
But the Spurs’ early struggles show no sign of ending.
Deron Williams(notes) scored 21 points and Carlos Boozer(notes) scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Jazz to their first regular-season victory in San Antonio since 1999—a 90-83 win on Thursday night.
That’s 10 years and 20 games since 30 points from Karl Malone on Feb. 28, 1999, carried the Jazz to their previous win in San Antonio. No player in Utah’s loose locker room Thursday night was even in the NBA back then.
“We’ve been to this building a lot of times, had some close games and had some blowouts,” said Boozer, who also had 11 rebounds. “To get the win, the first one in this building, is big-time for our organization. We’re proud of ourselves.”
Tim Duncan(notes) scored 21 points, and he has seldom seen San Antonio struggle at the start of a season like this. The Spurs revamped their roster this summer with sights set on a fifth NBA title run, but they are 4-6 and have their first losing record after 10 games since 1996.
The Spurs have dropped three straight.
“(We have to) worry more about improvement and understanding more than our record—and we know what our record is,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
Paul Millsap(notes) added 20 points for the Jazz, who won back-to-back games for the first time this season. They did so with only nine players for the second consecutive night, after beating Toronto at home on Wednesday.
Taking over Malone’s role, Boozer played the foil to the Spurs this time. He was 4-of-6 from the field in the fourth. His second of two and-ones in the period with 1:08 left put Utah up 87-83 and provided a big two-possession cushion.
Ronnie Brewer(notes) added 13 points for the Jazz, who shot 60 percent in the fourth quarter. Williams had six of his 10 assists while playing the entire fourth quarter along with Millsap and Andrei Kirilenko(notes), who finished with 13 points.
“We did all the right things down the stretch, which we’ve struggled with in this building,” Williams said. “I still want to beat them when they’re not short-handed.”
The Spurs certainly were.
Like the Jazz, they were also playing their second game in two nights after falling in overtime at Dallas. The Spurs hobbled home Thursday perhaps not weary, but certainly more banged up.
Manu Ginobili(notes), who sprained his left groin against the Mavericks, is expected to miss at least a week. He sat out along with Tony Parker(notes), who has missed four of five games because of a nagging ankle sprain.
Parker, San Antonio’s third-leading scorer, remains day-to-day. The All-Star point guard originally hurt the ankle Nov. 6, then re-aggravated the sprain Saturday in a loss to Oklahoma City.
After spending big dollars to bring in Jefferson and Antonio McDyess(notes) this summer while dumping half their roster, the Spurs’ sputtering start isn’t what the team had in mind. But it’s also not the first time San Antonio has started slow: the Spurs began 5-5 last season, and still won the Southwest Division.
“If the playoffs started tomorrow, I think we’d be in trouble,” Duncan said. “But we’ve got a long way to go.”
NOTES: Jazz G Ronnie Price(notes) will not need surgery on his injured left toe, the team announced before the game. Price has undergone two MRIs since spraining his big toe Nov. 9 in a win against the Knicks. … Utah C Mehmet Okur(notes) didn’t make the trip, staying home because of flulike symptoms.