The Spurs were without Tony Parker (sore hip) and LaMarcus Aldridge tonight, but the Jazz even bigger gaps to fill, missing Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors. The Spurs simply wore down the Jazz from the opening tip and just kept increasing their lead throughout the game.
In an uncharactistic move, the Spurs did not spot their opponent a 10 point lead at the start of the game. Instead, just about everyone on the Spurs hit shots as they surged to a 32-22 lead at the end of the first.
Utah showed sign of life on offense in the second quarter but Jonathon Simmons and the Spurs got anything they wanted on offense, and McCallum got to show off why the Spurs brought him onto the team this summer. David West hit a couple of mid-range jump shots and the Spurs led 68-51 at the half.
Simmons was pretty spectacular on offense:
J SIMMS THO pic.twitter.com/sZki3v2p0I— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) January 7, 2016
And he made his mark on defense too:
Simmons and Kyle Anderson both were in the starting lineup for the start of the third quarter, and demonstrated why pitting them against each other as rivals isn't the right way to look at how they fit on the team. As they did in Summer League, they played off each other's strengths and both contributed to the Spurs building the lead as the quarter progressed. Of course, it helped that their supporting cast included Boris Diaw and a young stat stuffer wearing #21.
With about 3 minutes left in the quarter, Duncan was subbed out for Boban Marjanovic, who had some non-garbage time in the first half, and was sent out to collect the garbage in the second half. The Spurs lost a little intensity at the end of the quarter, but still ended up 95-77 as the fourth quarter began.
The fourth quarter saw some interesting matchups, as Boban was countered by Tibor Pleiss, who is as tall as him, but not nearly as strong. The Spurs backups continued to pound the rock and the Jazz as the quarter wore on and the Spurs ended up winning by a score of 123-98, for the second consecutive game.
- Once again, Tony Parker seemed to be absent on offense and defense. This is becoming a trend.
- Tim Duncan seems to be fully recovered from his mini slump with another great game, and he looked to be moving as well as he has this season, and he dominated Jeff Withey, who is younger and bigger than Tim, but can't contain him at all.
- Trey Burke was the best performer for the Jazz, driving the ball to the middle of the lane and finding an open gap to get off a little mid-range shot--just beyond the Marjanovic radius, which is the event horizon for attempting shots. Beyond that point, nothing, even light, can escape.
- Ray McCallum took advantage of increased playing time to show that he can play. The time he's spent in the D-League has kept him sharp and he was hustling on defense, and his speed and silky shot made a difference on offense.
- Boban Marjanovic is showing that he's not just a curiosity, he's becoming a valuable rotation player. There isn't a single player on the Spurs roster that can't be relied upon to provide solid minutes in game situations.
- The Spurs outscored the Jazz in each quarter, and they won the game. Math is cool.
- Every player on the Jazz had a negative +/- except for Joe Ingles who finished at +1. I have no idea how he did that.
- Kawhi is awesome, even if the team didn't need him that much tonight. That is all.
- Danny Green now has 662 three point field goals, passing Bruce Bowen. Congratulations, Danny!
Music for a Jazz Wednesday:
NOTE: OK, it's not really jazz. But it's got Saxes.
The Spurs record is now 31-6 and they are second in the Western Conference behind the streaking Golden State Warriors. And by streaking, I don't mean in the way it was done in the 60s. The next game for the Spurs is against the New York Knicks at the AT&T Center at 7:30 PM on Friday, January 8. If you want to read the Utah point of view, visit SLC Dunk, and be nice.