The Jazz reversed the roles Friday night in a 90-64 victory that matched the Spurs' lowest point total in franchise history and ended San Antonio's eight-game winning streak.
The beating was bad enough that San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich pulled his starters early in the fourth quarter, resting them for the next six games and a run at the best record in the West. The Spurs (52-24) are still in contention for that, as are the Jazz (51-26). And neither team has officially clinched a playoff berth yet.
Mehmet Okur had 17 points and 16 rebounds and Deron Williams had 16 points and 11 assists for his 50th double-double of the season. Williams led the Jazz on a 13-0 run to open the fourth quarter, which pretty much took the Spurs out of it and had Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili on the bench early in the period.
"We just got on a roll. We played good defense. We were able to force some turnovers and got out on the run," Williams said.
The Spurs weren't too concerned with matching the lowest point total in franchise history, set in a loss to Cleveland in March 1997.
"When it's good, I don't care about history. And when it's bad, I don't care either," said Ginobili, who was just 2-for-10 and finished with eight points.
This was definitely bad. The Jazz held the defending NBA champion Spurs without a point for almost the first 4 minutes of the fourth quarter. It was as one-sided as last year's playoff series, only this time the Jazz were in command.
Williams opened fourth quarter with a high alley-oop to Andrei Kirilenko to start a 13-0 run for the Jazz. Kirilenko finished with 10 points and six assists, and Carlos Boozer added 16 points and flustered Duncan all night.
Duncan finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, but sat most of the fourth quarter as the Jazz ran away with it.
"They have a wonderful team. It's just one of those things," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "We've all had days gone thru a day when you don't have things. you take it and you go home. I know they're tough enough to do that. They wouldn't have won as many games as they have if they didn't have that kind of mental toughness."
Tony Parker had 17 points for San Antonio, but only four assists.
Unlike last year's playoffs, the Jazz never let the Spurs get too far ahead. San Antonio never led by more than eight and Utah easily overcame that deficit and took over the game in the third quarter.
Kirilenko, who has missed 10 games this season with injuries, went hard to the floor while going after loose balls in the third quarter. He tied up Michael Finley on one play early in the third quarter and forced a jump ball, which Utah won. Boozer broke the tie on two free throws, starting a 6-0 run for the Jazz.
Later in the period, Kirilenko hit the floor again in almost the same spot when he stripped the ball from Manu Ginobili to start a fast break for the Jazz. Kyle Korver, who scored 11, was fouled on the layup attempt and made both free throws to give Utah a 64-53 lead. Fabricio Oberto got the two points back for San Antonio when he took a forearm from Boozer in the lane and made both free throws, but Utah still led by nine entering the fourth quarter and had the Spurs scrambling.
"They played well and beat us good," Popovich said
Williams opened the fourth quarter with a high alley-oop pass to Kirilenko, who came out of nowhere to grab it and slam it in to the delight of the Utah fans, who got even louder when San Antonio turned over the ball and Harpring scored on a back-door layup to put Utah up 68-55.
Kirilenko added a three-point play, Williams made two free throws and Harpring got behind the defense for another easy layup to put Utah up 75-55 and force San Antonio to call a second time out in the fourth quarter.
San Antonio didn't score in the fourth until Damon Stoudamire, in after coach Gregg Popovich emptied the bench, hit a 19-foot jumper with 8:11 left in the game. That got the Spurs within 20 again at 77-57.
- Williams left the game in the first quarter to have his ankle re-taped.
- Duncan and Parker were the only Spurs who scored in double figures.
- The Jazz close the regular season April 16 at San Antonio, where they haven't won since 1999.
- The Spurs did not score for the final 2:04 of the second quarter.