After leading for much of the night, the Jazz (13-10) had to overcome one final deficit in the final minutes to beat the veteran team that bounced them from last year's playoffs. And it couldn't have been a more significant win, as the Jazz improved to 9-1 at home, and have now beaten the Lakers and Spurs in back-to-back games.
The Jazz handed the Spurs (18-3) 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.
After overcoming a double-digit first-quarter deficit, the Jazz took a nine-point halftime lead. However, they could only try to hold on as the Spurs fought back to tie the game at 71 entering the fourth.
Williams missed an off-balance jumper with nine seconds remaining, but Paul Millsap corralled the rebound. Out of a timeout, the first-year point guard showed little interest in passing the ball.
He waited for the last possible moment, then fired.
Williams had struggled for much of the night and finished with just eight points on 3-of-9 shooting and going only 1 of 4 on 3-pointers.
But the Jazz will take that one. While Tim Duncan carried the largest load for the Spurs, scoring 22 points, grabbing 21 rebounds and recording six blocks, the Jazz were more beleaguered by the endless assault from San Antonio's endless depth. Tiago Splitter and Patty Mills carried the Spurs at the end of the third quarter, and Boris Diaw made a 3-pointer with 4:09 left in the game to give the Spurs a 93-85 lead.
However, the Jazz went on a 9-1 run, which culminated with a fast-break dunk by Al Jefferson with 1:47 remaining, tying the game at 94.
Paul Millsap made a shot in the lane with 40 seconds remaining to tie the game again.
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.
However, the home team had a big quarter of their own.
The Jazz said following Wednesday's shootaround that they wanted to channel the third quarter of their 110-100 loss to the Spurs on Nov. 3 in San Antonio. That night, the Jazz outscored the Spurs 35-17 in the quarter.
On Wednesday, they were almost as good in the second, outscoring the Spurs 31-16 and taking a 53-44 halftime lead.
A 19-5 run keyed the dynamic comeback in that quarter, as the Jazz erased a Spurs lead that grew to 19-9 and then 26-6. Behind a group that included Earl Watson, Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter, the Jazz came all the way back, taking a 36-35 lead on a Paul Millsap basket with 6:29 remaining in the half.
Randy Foye hit a 3-pointer that extended the Jazz lead to 46-42, and the Jazz scored on their next three possessions to close the half on a 7-0 run.
The Jazz shot 60.9 percent in the quarter, compared with a paltry 26.1 percent by San Antonio.