SAN ANTONIO — Opening a five-game road trip that covers four states and three different regions, the Jazz darn near completed a Texas-sized comeback Saturday night.

Instead, San Antonio booted Utah from the Alamodome, beating the Jazz 100-80 in a game that featured more big runs than Grandma's nylons.

Up by 28 points late in the second quarter, the 17-4 Spurs seemed to start thinking they could cruise to a seventh straight victory. But the Jazz trimmed San Antonio's advantage to 5, with a chance to make it 3, before finally succumbing to the ills that put them in such a huge hole.

"We got back to what we started off the ballgame with: one pass and a shot," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "They're a great team, tough to play against, because they're so good defensively. We never made them play any defense."

The result: San Antonio's lead shot right back up, all the way to 29.

"The attitude of 'trying to get something done' was what got us back in it," Jazz point guard John Stockton said, "and you'd like to have perfect control over it. But we didn't."

Because of that, the 11-13 Jazz lost for the second time in three games — and, for the second time in the same span, they failed to even their record.

This time, Utah was done in by the Spurs' considerable size and its own shortcomings.

It all leaves Sloan right where he's been so many other times the past several weeks, wondering if everyone on the Jazz roster is committed to turning around a team that has not been at or above .500 at any time this season.

"Yeah, we'd like to be bigger," said Sloan, who at one point pulled 7-foot-2 center Greg Ostertag from the floor in favor of smaller Jarron Collins, apparently because Ostertag's play seemed unimpassioned.

"But if guys aren't going to play," Sloan added, "and (they) don't even realize the importance of the game that we're involved with, then it's pretty hard to play 'em — when they step out there, and they're unconcerned, and it appears that they're thinking about the day off tomorrow . . . rather than playing the game tonight."

The Jazz are off today and again Monday before facing Miami on Tuesday night and Orlando on Wednesday night, then heading Northeast for meetings with Boston on Friday night and New Jersey on Saturday night.

As for San Antonio, it was evident from the start that not everyone was focused on playing the Spurs — who have now won six straight over Utah.

The Jazz had just one field goal in a span of nine-plus minutes that covered the end of the first quarter and the start of the second, and before they knew it San Antonio had that opening-half lead at 28.

And Utah simply had no answer early on for 7-footer Tim Duncan, who had 18 of his team-high 26 points in the first quarter.

San Antonio shot 76.5 percent (13-of-17) in that opening period, while the Jazz hit merely 40 percent (8-of-20). Jazz star Karl Malone contributed to that woeful shooting, making just 4-of-10 in his first 12 minutes.

It was a technical foul on Malone, though, that got Utah going late in the half. The Jazz outscored San Antonio 15-0 to the break after Steve Smith made the free throw resulting from the call on Malone; the Mailman personally delivered 11 of those points.

Still, the Jazz trailed by 13 (58-45) at the half.

But they started the second half much like they ended the first, this time with a 10-2 run that brought them to within 5 at 60-55. Duncan backed down for 2 to make it 62-55, but Malone answered with a jumper that had the spread back at 5.

After a timeout and a turnover by the Spurs, Malone had his chance to cut San Antonio's advantage to 3. But he came up short with a one-pass jumper, and Utah went on to misfire on its next five possessions — two more missed jumpers and a turnover from Malone, a missed jumper by DeShawn Stevenson and yet another by Collins.

"You want to take the shot, and then you see a teammate and want to make a pass, so you're kind of stuck in no-man's land," said Malone, who rebounded to finish with a game-high 31 points on 12-of-24 shooting.

"We made a good run to get back in it," Malone added, "but that doesn't mean a helluva lot in this business."

Malone pointed at himself as one reason the Jazz's rally fell short. "I stopped being aggressive in that little time that we made that run," he said, "and stopped looking to pass instead of staying in a nice rhythm."

Later, the Mailman suggested he wished everyone in the Jazz locker room would look similarly at themselves.

"It's every person," Malone said. "It's each guy who has to look within themselves to say 'What do I need to do to try to help us win ballgames?'

"When you're going through some times as a team, like we are at times, it's easy to point the finger. But it's hard to look at yourself and say, 'Hey, this is what I need to be doing more of.' "