SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Not long ago, the San Antonio-Utah rivalry was one of the NBA's most heated as the teams vied annually for supremacy in the Midwest Division.
Much of the antipathy remains, judging from the boos that still shower Karl Malone, but the matchup on the court has turned one-sided.
Behind Tim Duncan's 30 points, the Spurs defeated the Jazz for the 12th straight time, 101-81 Saturday night. The victory also snapped Utah's six-game winning streak.
"We're not a good team when we don't what we're supposed to do,'' said Jazz guard John Stockton, who finished with 10 points and six assists. "We didn't execute well and we didn't play good defense.''
The Spurs turned a close game into a romp with a 17-0 run
beginning late in the third quarter. San Antonio led by as many as
31 in the fourth before the regulars went to the bench.
"We match up pretty well with (Utah) and have had some pretty good success,'' Duncan said. "We really had to take away the easy buckets and layups to beat them.''
Duncan, who played only 32 minutes, started the decisive run
with a short runner that extended San Antonio's lead to 68-58 with
3:09 left in the third, and he later hit a 20-foot jumper before
sitting down for the night with a minute remaining the period.
San Antonio, which has won 15 of 18, is now two games behind
Midwest Division-leading Dallas with 10 games to play, including a
season-ending contest against the Mavericks at home on April 16.
San Antonio leads the season series 2-1.
"We have to play out of our minds to catch (Dallas),'' David Robinson said. "We still have a chance, and to catch them would be outstanding, but we're really going to have work and get better.''
Greg Ostertag led the Jazz with 16 points, tying his season high, and topped all rebounders with 10. Matt Harpring contributed 14 points and Malone 11, though he shot only 4-for-15 from the floor.
After Ostertag's dunk with 3:34 left in the third, the Jazz
didn't score until Harpring made a pair of free throws with 10:21
left on the clock. Utah didn't have a field goal for nearly eight
minutes before Stockton made a runner at 7:47.
"Defensively they go to beat you down, and that's what they did tonight,'' Ostertag said. "They're a really good team.''
Utah coach Jerry Sloan was tossed out of the game after picking up his second technical foul for arguing following the hard foul on Harpring by Stephen Jackson. Sloan did not talk to reporters after the game.
A layup by Malone, his only points of the first half, gave Utah
a 8-2 lead in the opening minutes, but Bowen's second 3-pointer
from the corner gave the Spurs their first lead of the game, 12-10.
San Antonio, leading by 28-23 after one period, went cold from the floor at the start of the second quarter, making only three of its first 14 attempts as the Jazz pulled within a basket. A dunk by Duncan and Bowen's fourth 3-pointer of the half rebuilt San Antonio's lead to seven with 5:15 left.
Duncan made his final four shots of the half, the last a jumper
from the top of the key with 4.1 seconds remaining to extend the
Spurs' lead to 50-41. He finished the half with 20 points, while
Ostertag led Utah with 14 on 6-for-9 shooting.
San Antonio can sweep the season series for the third
straight year when the teams meet in Salt Lake City on April 14.
... Bowen climbed into third in the NBA in 3-point accuracy at 43.7
percent. ... Malone was 1-for-16 and 8-for-22 in his first two
games versus the Spurs this season. ... The Spurs had a season-high
24 offensive rebounds.