SAN ANTONIO (AP) -Sure, the Utah Jazz would rather sweep the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs. But they'll take this one.
Lopsided as this series has often been? You bet.
Carlos Boozer scored 31 points and 13 rebounds, and Andrei Kirilenko added 26 points as the Jazz beat the Spurs for a fourth and final time this regular season, 105-98 on Wednesday night.
``We're proud of ourselves,' Boozer said. ``They're a championship team. We've never done that in the history, since I've been here. It's been a long time since we swept them. Hopefully we can build on this.'
Few coaches have been around longer than Jerry Sloan and Gregg Popovich. But even Popovich wasn't yet the head coach in San Antonio the last time Utah was this dominant against the Spurs.
The Jazz swept the season series for the first time since 1993-94, when Utah beat San Antonio five times during the regular season. The Jazz also went on to eliminate the Spurs 3-1 in the playoffs that same year.
More recently, the Jazz had been downright stumped against the Spurs. They entered the season having not won in San Antonio in a decade, but can now claim two wins at the AT&T Center in the same season.
Last decade, there was a period when Sloan endured the futility of Utah losing 18 straight to San Antonio. That said, Sloan quickly put these four wins in a somewhat muted perspective.
``When you look at the whole picture you see that you beat San Antonio four times this year, and you're in ninth place,' Sloan said. ``There's not a whole lot of consolation when you look at the whole picture.'
Manu Ginobili scored 22 points for the Spurs, who had a 25-0 run but couldn't prevail in a game of wild swings. The Jazz split a two-game road swing after losing to Denver on Sunday. Utah has won five of six.
The Jazz also deprived Tim Duncan from joining the 20,000-point club, holding the perennial All-Star to 14 points - leaving him at 19,999.
Duncan shot 5 of 15 and made just one shot in the fourth quarter. Boozer drew a sixth foul on Duncan with 30.1 seconds left and the Spurs trailing 99-96, and Boozer sank both free throws to seal the victory.
``It's tough just seeing the team lose for the fourth time against the Jazz,' Ginobili said. ``That's hard to swallow.'
Three points was the closest San Antonio got after trailing by as many as 12 in the quarter. Tony Parker scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth, but Boozer had eight down the stretch to keep the Spurs at bay.
``We beat them a lot over the years,' Parker said. ``I think, you know, this year they had our number.'
Boozer picked up his 25th double-double of the season. Deron Williams also had a double-double, getting 18 points and 10 assists. Williams also didn't turn the ball over.
George Hill had 16 points and Richard Jefferson had 12 for the Spurs.
San Antonio had crawled back into the game after a horrid start, missing its first eight shots. A 25-0 run over 5 minutes in the first half brought the Spurs back and then some, but the Jazz held off a final Spurs push.
The loss was a dulling start to a six-game homestand for the Spurs. The home games are the last for San Antonio before embarking on their annual ``Rodeo Road Trip,' which will keep the Spurs away for virtually all of February while cowboys and cattle take over the AT&T Center for a month.
NOTES: Duncan will go for 20,000 points on Friday against Houston. Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki and Boston's Ray Allen have already hit the milestone this season.
The Associated Press News Service
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