EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The roars of the crowd and the shouts from the public-address announcer made it feel like this was a huge win.
For the New Jersey Nets, though, there wasn't much celebrating. Just relief.
Relief at having removed their name from the line in the record book no team wants to be on.
The Nets notched their 10th victory last night, avoiding any chance of tying the 1972-73 Sixers for the worst record in NBA history by beating the shorthanded San Antonio Spurs, 90-84.
"You don't thank God, but you don't want to go down as the worst team in the history of the game," reserve guard Keyon Dooling said. "Absolutely it's a relief, you don't want to go down in history as the worst team ever."
Brook Lopez had 22 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets, who grabbed control with a 15-4 run late in the fourth quarter to improve to 10-64. The 1972-73 76ers, who went 9-73, will remain in the books as the league's worst team.
PA announcer Gary Sussman shouted "We got 10! The Nets win!" after New Jersey snapped a 14-game losing streak in the series, committing a franchise record-low four turnovers - none in the second half - in beating San Antonio for the first time since the 2003 NBA Finals.
"It's a big relief. It's a big relief," guard Courtney Lee said. "Now we can go out and ball and have fun and play."
With Manu Ginobili (lower-back spasms) joining Tony Parker on the injured list and Tim Duncan struggling through a poor shooting game, the Spurs had few answers on the second night of a back-to-back following an impressive victory at Boston on Sunday.
Duncan finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds but missed eight of his first 12 shots before finishing 6-for-15 from the field. San Antonio was just 11-for-20 from the foul line.
George Hill scored 19 points and former Net Richard Jefferson finished with 16 after a strong start for the Spurs, who fell out of a sixth-place tie in the Western Conference with Oklahoma City and Portland.
New Jersey has been in danger of the worst record ever since opening the season with an NBA-record, 18-game losing streak. But the Nets have now won three of four, taking the pressure off the remainder of their schedule - while acknowledging that improving to 54 games under .500 isn't exactly cause for a party.
"We don't want to be a part of the worst team in history, so it's exciting to get 10 wins, but it is 10 wins, you know what I mean?" point guard Devin Harris said. "It's fun. We haven't won that many games, so we are excited to win. We are continuing to move forward.