SALT LAKE CITY (NBA.com exclusive) -- It was just what the Utah Jazz needed.
Following a Rocket meltdown and a disaster in Dallas earlier this week, the Jazz rebounded with a strong wire-to-wire effort in a 113-99 win over longtime nemesis San Antonio on Thursday night.
Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams each scored 27 points to lead the Jazz, who shot 53 percent against what's traditionally one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.
Boozer called it a "monumental" win, and although it was only the fifth game of the season, it was much needed.
"We felt like we lost some games we should have won, especially the last two fourth quarters," Boozer said. "We came out tonight and proved that we can beat a team when we have a lead, and hold a lead, and even extend it a little bit. We got to take confidence from this game, especially with how we played on the defensive end."
Utah's previous two losses had Jazz fans feeling nothing but doom and gloom about the 2009-10 season. In their last two defeats, the Rockets outscored Utah by 20 in the second half on Monday, and the Jazz blew a 16-point fourth-quarter lead against the Mavericks on Tuesday. The Jazz lost three of their first four -- their worst start in seven seasons.
"We let a game get away the other night and it looked like the end of the season for a lot of people the way they were talking about it," said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. "I thought our guys would come back and play and I was proud of them for the way they played."
The Jazz got their season back on track, you could say, by playing Spurs basketball. They got deflections and stops on defense, helped each other out defensively, and prevented San Antonio from getting many close-range looks. The Spurs shot just 43 percent, while both Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili finished below 50 percent from the field.
"The biggest thing is we were aggressive on defense," Boozer said. "When we play defense like that where we're helping each other, making the other team take jump shots ... it helped us a lot tonight."
The Jazz were just as dominant on the other end of the floor. The Spurs, who are working seven new players into their system, looked to be slow to react defensively to what Utah was running on offense. San Antonio uncharacteristically couldn't keep Utah away from the basket, as the Jazz scored 64 points in the paint. Utah simply attacked the hoop at every opportunity.
The Jazz scored 113 points against the usually defensive-minded Spurs while making just one 3-pointer.
"I don't think we are a very good defensive team right now, we got a lot of work to do to become a good defensive team and Utah obviously took advantage of that tonight," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "The whole game was about physicality and execution and both areas Utah was far superior than we were. Across the board that's the game."
Utah's blowout victory was an anomaly in the series.
The Jazz had lost four straight and 29 of their last 35 games against the Spurs. They hadn't scored more than 100 against San Antonio in the last 40 regular-season meetings. Utah topped 100 on Thursday when Paul Millsap scored on a layup following a sweet pass from Williams. The basket gave the Jazz a 101-88 lead with 6:15 left in the game.
"It helps our confidence knowing we can beat a good team like the Spurs," Williams said.
It will also help their psyche, especially Boozer's. The Jazz were booed off the court when they lost to the Rockets on Monday. Boozer, who used to be greeted by fans with a positive "Booooz," has instead been the victim of just normal booing inside EnergySolutions Arena.
At least for one night, Boozer got back on the good side of Jazz fans. In addition to his 27 points, he added 14 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Defense isn't Boozer's forte, but he anchored Utah's defensive effort, helping the team build a wall to the hoop and forcing San Antonio to settle for jumpers.
"I thought he had a terrific game," Sloan said. "He came out and he didn't force things. He wants to do the right thing. I told him you can have all the people like you, dislike you, or whatever the case may be, but you got to be the guy that goes and plays and puts the effort into it and I was happy for him."