Karl Malone scored 23 points and John Stockton had 13 points and 19 assists as Utah routed San Antonio 95-75 Tuesday night to win the opener of their Western Conference semifinal playoff series.
The Spurs, who have never won a playoff series after losing the first game, were booed in the Alamodome as they lost the homecourt advantage in the best-of-7 series. Game 2 is Thursday in San Antonio.The Jazz, who led by five points at halftime, built a comfortable lead in the third quarter and maintained it the rest of the way. Utah opened the second half with a 17-7 run to take a 63-48 lead with 6:35 remaining in the third period.
Jeff Hornacek scored nine of his 17 points in the third period for the Jazz, who led 74-61 at the start of the final period. Utah led by at least 10 points throughout the fourth quarter.
David Robinson had 29 points and six rebounds for San Antonio. Sean Elliott added 14 points for the Spurs.
After holding Portland to an NBA playoff-low 64 points in Game 5 of their opening-round series, the Jazz came up with another defensive gem against San Antonio.
"Our defense stepped up again," Hornacek said. "We made them take tough shots."
The Spurs didn't score for a four-minute stretch in the first period as Utah went on a 12-0 run and built a 25-7 lead with 3:25 remaining.
Chuck Person's 3-pointer with 2:42 left in the first finally moved the Spurs into double figures and San Antonio fought back to cut Utah's lead to 46-41 at halftime.
The Jazz advanced to the semifinals by eliminating the Trail Blazers 3-2 in the first round, including a 102-64 victory Sunday in Game 5.
The Spurs beat Phoenix 3-1 in the first round.
Notes: Spurs guard Doc Rivers missed another game with lower back spasms. Jazz forward David Benoit, with a contusion to his left knee, also didn't play. Chris Morris started in his place. ... The Spurs defeated the Jazz 3-1 in their regular-season series. The only San Antonio loss was an overtime game at the Alamodome in February. ... San Antonio and Utah have met in the playoffs only once before, in the first round in 1994. The Spurs had the homecourt advantage but the Jazz won that series 3-1.