Sunday night, the Utah Jazz visited San Antonio to play the streaking Spurs. The Jazz came into the game having lost eight of their last nine contests while the Spurs were looking to win their tenth in a row. Although the Jazz played well, the game was controlled by the Spurs as they used their beautiful offense to cruise to a comfortable victory, 122-104.
As you can tell from the game flow, the Jazz trailed for nearly the entire game and as the game moved along, the Spurs steadily increased their lead. In the first half, the Spurs seemed content to have a shoot-out with the young Jazz. Neither team really defended at all early on and as a result, the Spurs shot 61% from the field and Utah shot 52% in the first half. Utah's offensive rebounding allowed them to stay in the game even though San Antonio was shooting at such an elite level. At intermission, the Spurs led by eight points, 61-53.
The game was greatly decided in the third quarter when the Spurs finally decided to play a little defense. The Spurs began the third with a 5-0 run and finished it with a 9-3 run. In the quarter, the Spurs held the Jazz to 35% field goal shooting and just 25% from distance. While the Spurs' defense stiffened, their offense continued to excel. The Spurs shot 68% from the field and won the quarter 30-23, to take a 15 point lead into the fourth quarter.
11 points is as close as the Jazz would get in the fourth quarter as the Spurs cruised to win their tenth game in a row. OKC lost tonight to the Dallas Mavericks so the Spurs extended their grasp on the West's best record to two games. Every year, I convince myself that home-court doesn't matter and every year, it seems as if home-court really does matter. It would be so nice if the Spurs could retain the best record in the league and have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
It just demonstrates how elite this Spurs team is that they can suffer through so many injuries throughout the season yet still have a shot at the league's best record. In addition to the injuries, Popovich has been carefully keeping everyone's minutes low all season. The Spurs have a great shot at finishing with the league's best record and it was never their priority to do so. The Spurs are just that good. It looks like the Spurs are going to accidentally win home-court advantage.
- I know we say this after nearly every game, but this was a total team effort against the Jazz. Seven Spurs players scored in double figures and the team recorded 31 assists. The team had their best shooting night of the season hitting a ridiculous 63% from the field and from distance. Once they decided to play a little defense, the game was over.
- Boris Diaw and Danny Green didn't score in double figures. The rest of the nine-man rotation did. I can't remember a Spurs team with this much talent. The Spurs have nine different players capable of scoring 20 points.
- Manu Ginobili is playing his best basketball of the last five years right now. Pay attention! This is something special. He's finally healthy and has had enough healthy time to find his rhythm. Normally he's either playing hurt or just coming back from an injury. A healthy, in rhythm Ginobili is a treat. He makes this Spurs team so much more dangerous. He forces the opposition to play a 48 minute game. When he's playing this well, the second unit is really a starting unit and it puts immense pressure on the Spurs' opponents.
- Everyone looked great against the young Jazz. To be fair, Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward held their own against the Spurs, it just wasn't nearly enough. FirstName, LastName made three of his nine shots for eight points and a +/- of -7. Oh, memories.
- Tiago Splitter was rolling nicely, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds.Tim Duncan finished with a ho-hum 16/6/6. Tony had 18 points and seven assists. Look, the Spurs shot 63% from the field and 63% from distance; pretty much everyone had a good game. In five minutes of playing time I'm pretty sure that I could have scored a bucket. There's no way Trey Burke is 6'1", by the way.