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San Antonio vs. Utah, Final Score: Spurs win on the road, defeat the Jazz 113-104.

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Murray and Forbes benefited most from the extended time off.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Utah Jazz
Murray continued his improved offense to lead San Antonio
Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio took its second straight game on the Rodeo Road Trip and tenth road win of the year. Utah was led by Rudy Gobert (18 points and 14 rebounds) and Emmanuel Mudiay (18 points and 5 rebounds). Dejounte Murray (23 points and 7 rebounds) and DeMar DeRozan (18 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds) led a balanced and fully engaged effort by the Spurs.

Observations

  • One thing that came to mind often during this year’s Rodeo Road Trip - would any consideration be given to using the Alamodome as the rodeo venue instead of forcing San Antonio to spend most of a month away from home?
  • On the opening play, ‘slow-of-foot’ Joe Ingles somehow shed Bryn Forbes on a side pick-and-roll for a layup. Forbes later got his hands on two passes and turned a steal into free throws at the other end and ended up nailing four 3’s by halftime.
  • Those pull-up jumpers from straight on by Dejounte Murray look closer to automatic now. After connecting on numerous jumpers throughout the game, Murray drew free throws on a lunging Gobert in the third period.
  • Jakob Poeltl impacted the game immensely in the first half with four emphatic blocks and single-handedly neutralized Utah’s bigs.
  • Derrick White smartly drew a second foul on Ingles early in the second period - not by trying to cut off his drive, but by staying attached to his hip. Late in the third, White cut off a Donovan Mitchell drive in the paint and deftly knocked the ball cleanly out of the Jazz guard’s hands.
  • Late in the first half, Jazz analyst Craig Bolerjack earnestly called the Murray-Forbes pairing a “good backcourt.”
  • Is it safe to say that Gregg Popovich and Quin Snyder have two of the most intense stares in the league?
  • Current Jazz players that would have made decent contributors or rotation players on the Spurs? Joe Ingles and Royce O’Neale - Ingles for his basketball wits and shooting stroke and O’Neale’s defense and steadiness could have bolstered the backcourt in the years prior to DeRozan, Murray, and Derrick White joining the fold.
  • The Spurs found the free-throw line extended and left baseline to their liking on offense and claimed an early lead. The Jazz half-court execution resulted in two early fouls for LaMarcus Aldridge and Ingles had his way with four assists. San Antonio’s bench chucked bricks aplenty and Utah nearly built a one-story house with their misses. A potential four-point play for the Jazz, due to a Lonnie Walker IV foul, was overturned after review. The Spurs left the opening stanza up 27-21.
  • San Antonio pushed its lead to double digits to start the second behind better shooting from DeRozan and Aldridge, while more actively trying to disrupt Utah at the other end. Rudy Gobert’s disruptive paint defense spearheaded a 12-2 Jazz run led by Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson. The Spurs poignantly responded with its own 17-2 run with heightened intensity shown by Murray, Forbes, and Aldridge. The Spurs left the half up 65-46 behind Murray’s 15 and Forbes’ 13 points with only four team turnovers. Gobert was the only Utah player in double digits.
  • Since most of us now anticipate a comeback anytime the Spurs get a sizable lead, Utah obliged with a Bogdanovic steal and layup followed by a Mitchell three to start the third period - which launched Pop off the bench furiously. Murray’s behind-the-back escape dribble and pull-up over Gobert wowed the Jazz commentators. After DeRozan connected on a baseline fadeaway, Jazz analyst Matt Harpring remarked “He just gets to his spot.” Utah made another push near the end of the quarter behind hot shooting by Emmanuel Mudiay and Georges Niang to cut into the deficit.
  • Mudiay and Clarkson continued their lights-out shooting for Utah’s start the final stanza. DeRozan stopped a Jazz run by lofting a pretty floater and a fadeaway - both to beat the shot clock. A dubious Flagrant-1 foul called on Forbes - closing out on a Clarkson jumper - netted the San Antonio native three free throws and another Utah possession. The Spurs closed out small with Murray and White, along with DeRozan and Mills surrounding Aldridge. San Antonio’s tenth three of the game on an Aldridge feed to White made it 109-95. White returned the favor to Aldridge for a baseline jumper. After a Mills straightaway jumper, Harpring gushed “San Antonio keeps answering the bell” and Snyder finally waved the white flag with 90 seconds to go.

For the Jazz fan’s perspective, please go to SLC Dunk.

The Spurs continue their Rodeo Road Trip with a matchup on Sunday evening at 6:00 PM CT against Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and the Oklahoma City Thunder.