SAN ANTONIO – 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 scored 21 points and Carlos Boozer scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Jazz to its 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 its 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 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 added 20 points for the Jazz, which won back-to-back games for the first time this season. Utah did so with only nine players for the second consecutive night, after beating Toronto at home on Wednesday.
Ronnie Brewer 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, who finished with 13 points.
1 IVERSON AVAILABLE Allen Iverson has cleared waivers and is free to sign with any NBA team.
The former MVP was waived after playing only three games with the Memphis Grizzlies and no team claimed him in the following 48 hours, making him a free agent.
2 HUNTER EYES STERN MEETING NBA Players’ Association director Billy Hunter plans another negotiating session soon with commissioner David Stern. The union says total player compensation will fall this season, which would be only the second drop in the salary cap era that began in the 1984-85 season. The league warned clubs during the summer of an impending drop in next season’s salary cap, and some were careful with their spending. Veterans such as Allen Iverson found limited to no interest, while restricted free agents such as New York’s David Lee and Nate Robinson, and Charlotte’s Raymond Felton couldn’t even get an offer from anyone beyond their own teams.