Mo Williams lifts Utah Jazz to dramatic win over San Antonio Spurs
In the final seconds, Tyrone Corbin was reduced to a simple fan. Everyone was, including all Jazz players but one. All eyes were on Mo Williams, as he dribbled, two bounces per second, the precious seconds disappearing.
Corbin watched his point guard, then glanced at the clock as it ticked from six seconds toward none.
"Watching the clock," Corbin said, "and watching Mo."
Finally, a frustrated fan, yelled, "Mo!"
And the Jazz point guard, also frustrated by his performance, called his own name, too.
Williams swished a 26-foot 3-pointer as time expired, lifting the Jazz (13-10) to a 99-96 win over the San Antonio Spurs, giving Utah the hallmark win of an uneven young season, toppling the team with the NBA's best record.
The Jazz handed the Spurs (18-5) just their third road loss of the season, and defeated San Antonio for just the second time in their last 13 games, including last year's first-round playoff sweep.
This time, though, the Jazz overcame both a 10-point deficit in the first quarter and an eight-point hole with 4:09 remaining in the game.
With five of their next six games on the road where they are 4-9 the Jazz have now won four in a row, including back-to-back victories over the Los Angeles Lakers and the Spurs. Williams, who has forced many late-game shots this season, missed an off-balance jumper with nine seconds remaining that would have put the Jazz up 98-96. However, Paul Millsap responded with the biggest of his 12 rebounds (he also led the Jazz with 24 points), earning the Jazz an extra, final possession.
"That won the game, to be honest," Williams said. "Give them the ball with 10 seconds to go, no telling what they will draw up over there to give themselves a chance to do it."
Williams finished with just eight points, struggling to a 3-of-9 shooting performance. He had just 1-of-4 shooting for 3-pointers.
But they'll be talking about the one for quite some time around here.
"We all knew he was going to take it after he missed that last one," Hayward said. "Knew he was going to step up and shoot it with confidence. We had faith in him, and he knocked it down."
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich put the blame squarely on his defender, 6-foot-6 forward Danny Green.
"That's a huge defensive error," he said. "What do you think a guy is going to do with 2 seconds left on the clock? You make him drive. You don't step back on Mo Williams."
While Green drew scorn, Tim Duncan shone. The Spurs' Hall of Fame lock scored 22 points, grabbed 21 rebounds and blocked five shots.
"I hate to have Tim have a game like that and lose at the end," Popovich said.
Millsap led the Jazz with 24 points and 12 rebounds while Al Jefferson added 21 points and Gordon Hayward scored 19 off the bench.
Hayward's biggest contributions came in the fourth quarter, when he made a pair of 3-pointers that cut the Spurs' lead to 85-82 and 93-88.
Tony Parker scored 22 points for the Spurs, including 10 in the third quarter to get the Spurs back in the game.
The ending was validation for Williams, who missed vital shots late in losses at Boston and against the Clippers.
"I'll always be confident down the stretch," Williams said. "Even the ones I missed Boston's one that sticks out I'll still be confident."
Williams said the moment slowed down for him just as it sped up for everyone else.
Remember "watching the clock and watching Mo"? Corbin was quickly snapped out of his back-and-forth scenario as the moment became "watch the ball go through the basket as the clock went off and watch him run down the court with his hands up in the air."
"It was tremendous, man," Corbin said.
R Mo Williams is just 1-of-4 shooting from 3-point range, but makes the game-winner as time expires.
• Tim Duncan leads the Spurs with 22 points and 21 rebounds.
• The Jazz beat the Spurs for just the second time in the teams' last 13 matchups.