With the Jazz leading the season series 0-3, and the San Antonio Spurs positioning themselves for the playoffs, the home team needed this game. And this game had a definite playoff feeling. LaMarcus Aldridge, the Spurs All-Star, and Donovan Mitchell, the probable Rookie of the Year, fought tooth and nail for this important game. So much so, it went into extra minutes.
Gregg Popovich went to the lineup that has kept the current homestand winning streak going - LaMarcus Aldridge, Kyle Anderson, Danny Green, Patty Mills, and DeJounte Murray. Early on it looked like LMA would match up at center against Rudy Gorbert. And he also continued where he left off in the current homestand, feasting off his opponent (scoring 17 in the quarter). It almost seemed as if the Jazz didn’t get the memo (or scouting reports apparently), and they kept leaving Aldridge all alone to hit one mid-range or long jumper after another. While PTR’s preview looked forward to a Murray - Donovan Mitchell matchup, DJM was up against Rubio on both sides of the court for most of the quarter and it looked awkward. Rubio has always been a nuisance and it really showed offensively as he harassed Murray’s high dribble. But between LMA hitting everything and threes falling for Mills and Green, the Spurs shot 63.2% FGA compared to the Jazz’s 39.1%.
End of the 1st: Spurs 29 - Jazz 19
For the first 1 1⁄2 minutes of the 2nd, Aldridge sat for a rest and the Spurs scoring went cold. Then Rudy Gay hit a short jumper for an AND-1. When Gorbert re-entered the game, so did LMA, but the damage was done, the Jazz had caught up, 32-31 Spurs up. But it wasn’t just the offense that was struggling, the Silver and Black were missing some defensive rotations. Several times, LMA ended up guarding a small, like Mitchell in the paint. This quarter also saw lots of contact between the two Aussies - Patty Mills and Joe Ingles - with Mills getting the worse of it. After some frenetic ball movement, Anderson got dared to shoot the corner three and he hit it.
If he can get those to keep falling consistently, he will help spread the floor for LMA. Just after the 5 minutes mark, LMA hit a late shot clock triple, his first since February. However, the Jazz were keeping it close by matching the Spurs offensively. Both teams were shooting in the low 50 percentile.
End of the 2nd: Spurs 56 - Jazz 51
In the first 100 seconds of the 2nd half, the refs blew the whistle against the Spurs three times (the Jazz were in the Bonus by 7:59 left in the quarter). For most of the quarter, Murray was guarding Mitchell and it was sweet - youth on youth, length on length, athletic on athletic.
For most of the game, Mitchell had been struggling to score, going 8-22 by the end of the 3rd. But the Jazz were getting points from Rubio, Mitchell, and Favors to claw back to a single possession game after the Spurs were up by 8.
End of the 3rd: Spurs 77 - Jazz 73
The quarter started with LMA on the bench and Rudy Gay working to keep the the offense going. Gay hit several needed jumpers and with Gasol was keeping the Spurs in the game with rebounds on both ends of the court. Then Manu Ginobili hit an inspired #StillManu three pointer.
After 4 minutes into the fourth, the good guys were taking care of business enough for Pop to keep Aldridge on the bench for extended rest. Then the chants of “RUDY, RUDY, RUDY!” by Sean Elliott and Bill Land began as Rudy Gay put Rudy Gorbert on his poster with an awesome dunk.
Aldridge came back in to join Gay and an inspired Ginobili who then drove to the basket for an AND-1. But Favors and Rubio were keeping the Jazz in this game. With 6:28 to go, it was Spurs were up 95 to 88. The Silver and Black again seemed to forget what got them the lead and were turning over the ball on lazy passes and sloppy dribbling. With 3:44 left in the game, the Spurs were barely hanging on to a three point lead, 100-97. The Spurs’ 13 turnovers have led to 16 points for the Jazz. Then Ingles hit a three to tie the game with 2:57 left in the game.
With both teams in the Bonus, it looked like it would be a slug-fest to the end. Both teams traded baskets and foul shots to keep it tied. With under a minute to go, LMA hit a couple of nice jumpers, Ginobili did Ginobili things, and defense worked to keep the ball away from Gorbert and Mitchell to get and increase the lead to 4 with 17.5 seconds left. After some back and forth, up and down, the score was tied with 3.6 left in the game. But they couldn’t get a good shot off, and it was tied for overtime.
End of the 4th: Spurs 114 - Jazz 114
The first overtime of the season for the Spurs began with LMA, Ginobili, Gay, Mills, and Green with Ginobili getting the tip, but no good shot. Then the refs go whistle happy again and call Green for his sixth foul. After a scoreless couple of possessions, Gorbert gets an AND-1. Mills and Mitchell traded a couple of buckets to keep the Jazz lead at one. A nice block and save by LMA and a determined hustle play by Gay gave the Spurs the one point lead with 1:19 left in OT. Then LMA went to work in the paint to rebound and put it back in for a three point lead with 34.7 seconds left. Jae Crowder missed a three but the Spurs couldn’t score, but they aggressively fouled Mitchell to keep him off the three point line. With 5.7 left in overtime, the Jazz throw it to Ingles who is fouled by Murray (which was questionable at the very least), but luckily it was a two point shot. Ingles hit one and purposely missed the second, but Gasol got the rebound and was fouled with 2.6 left on the clock (the Spurs weren’t in the Bonus and the Jazz had no timeouts left). The Jazz fouled Mills to put the Spurs in the Bonus with 2.1 left and he hit both to give the Spurs a four point lead. The Jazz couldn’t get a shot off and it was game.
End of Overtime: Spurs 124 - Jazz 120
Spurs are set to travel to play the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday, March 25 at 2:30 p.m.