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San Antonio vs. Utah, Final Score: Spurs clutch free throws cinch 104-102 win over Jazz

Dejounte Murray sparks a Spurs rally in the fourth quarter to give Pop his record

Utah Jazz v San Antonio Spurs Photos by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

They did it. They really did it. The San Antonio Spurs finally won a game when trailing going into the fourth quarter. Oh, and some Gregg Popovich guy broke some kind of record, but judging by the way he reacted to the end of the game, you would’ve thought it was business as usual.

After trailing most of the game and falling behind by as much as 15 points in the fourth, the Spurs mounted an 18-3 run in just over four and a half minutes to tie the game. With the defense cranked up and, let’s face it, a bit of luck, the Spurs overcame a horrid shooting night to defeat the Utah Jazz 104-102.

A lot of that is because they consistently attacked the basket, regardless of who was inside. That aggression paid off in the form of the team shooting 43 free throws. Dejounte Murray led the way as one of six Spurs in double figures. He ended the night with 27 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 steals. Jakob Poeltl and Zach Collins were right behind him with 15 points a piece.

On the other side, the Jazz were unsurprisingly led by Donovan Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson, who had 24 and 17 respectively. Rudy Gobert did Rudy Gobert things, as he ended the game with 13 points, 16 rebounds, and 5 blocks.

The win puts the Spurs a game out of the 10th seed after the New Orleans Pelicans lost to the Charlotte Hornets. The Spurs have a chance to close the gap even more tomorrow night as they take on the Indiana Pacers.

Observations

  • Zach Collins pick and pop should be used more often. Within a minute of entering the game, Collins caught a pass at the top of the key and nailed a three. A minute later, he did it again, only instead of Josh Richardson making the pass, it was Lonnie Walker. It’s this kind of shooting ability that made him such an interesting addition to the roster, even though he hadn’t played in a while and was scheduled to miss the first couple of months. He’s still getting his footing under him, but you can see the part he can play in the offense, and they should start using it more and more.
  • We need more Collins and Landale lineups. I’m sure you’re thinking, why not Jakob Poeltl? But with both Collins and Landale, the Spurs would have two bigs that can stretch the floor. Plus, Collins is athletically enough to play a stretch-four role. In the 2:48 on the court together to end the first quarter, they played the Jazz to a tie (even though that’s because Dejounte hit a buzzer beating heave). It’s not something that should happen all the time, but it would be a nice wrinkle to throw at teams in moments.
  • Michelle Beadle is a delightful addition to the broadcast. I’m assuming that her television experience plays a big part in this, but it seems like she knows just how to keep the conversation going. Her playful jabs at Sean Elliott and probing questions keep the commentary entertaining and informative.
  • Keldon Johnson needs to be mic’d up every game. In the third quarter, the broadcast cut to video of some of the Spurs in the crowd of an Austin Spurs game. And in Keldon fashion, he was lively, energetic, and playing it up. Who wouldn’t sign up for clips of Keldon talking for an entire game?
  • The Spurs shooting comes and goes yet again. For most of the game, it seemed like Pop’s record was going to have to wait another day. Possession after possession, the Spurs came up empty when their shot came from behind the arc. The team ended the game shooting 6 of 29 from three and lost the three-point line by 21 points. Luckily, they made up for that at the foul line, but three-point shooting continues to be something of a bugaboo.
  • Another game, another Dejounte Murray masterpiece. This one might’ve been more of a Jackson Pollack, but a masterpiece nonetheless. As noted above, the Spurs were yet to win a game when they entered the fourth quarter trailing. So when the fourth quarter rolled around and they were down 74-64, it seemed like defeat was inevitable. That’s when Dejounte Murray put a gauntlet on his hand and stole away the Jazz’s infinity stones. Every one of his 15 points in the quarter were needed. Just another game under his belt as the go-to scorer and leader of this young Spurs crew.