The Utah Jazz aren't as bad as their record suggests. In their last 16 games they are 9-7. They've got a talented rookie in Trey Burke, and their bigs can play as well.
The Jazz kept the game close for the first half, even taking a couple of brief leads before fading a little to go into halftime trailing 45-50. Ayres had a great first half, showing off his athleticism and continuing to make his case as the Spurs' fourth big. He finished with 4.9 dunks, took a couple charges, and even made a great pass. I hope he continues this kind of play. It seems like he just needed some time to get used to playing with the team. He wasn't perfect tonight, but he's coming along.
The NBA's ridiculously lop-sided season
It's been an awfully lop-sided NBA season. Does that make it an awful season? Where does it stand historically, and how does it affect the Spurs' chances this year?
The Spurs looked to blow this game wide open as Duncan and Parker dominated the first half of the third quarter. Our two vets outscored the Jazz 16-7 in those first six minutes and San Antonio had a 16-point lead that reached 18 a minute later. Then the normally lead-extending second unit came in and the Jazz finished the quarter on a 17-11 run to keep the game interesting.
The good guys again looked like they were going to put the game away when they went up 100-84 with five minutes left. But, the defense loosened, the shooting went cold, and the Spurs turned the ball over a couple of times before all of a sudden it was just a five point game with one minute left. After a Diaw miss, Alec Burks missed an uncontested layup that would have cut it to three. Tony hit one of two free throws before Burks hit a tough, leaning three-pointer to actually cut it to three. The Spurs knocked down more free throws and the Jazz hit a couple of threes, but eventually the Jazz ran out of time.
The Spurs survived another game, won their sixth straight, and improve their best record in the West to 31-8. This probably shouldn't have been as close as it was, but I'll take this mid-January win and not worry about the Spurs's play at the end of the game. It's a W in a crazy competitive conference, against a team that has been playing above .500 for the last month and Tim played less than 24 minutes. Go Spurs!
Check out the Jazz fan perspective at the very good SLC Dunk. Those guys know their basketball.