In the Spurs final game in San Antonio this season, they faced off against a Utah Jazz team that was a surprise early in the season and remained in the play-in hunt most of the time, but they too seem to have thrown in the towel at this point. Both teams were severely shorthanded and missing several starters, and while it was competitive for three quarters, the Jazz got hot in the fourth and pulled away to hand the Spurs the 128-117 loss.
Malaki Branham led six Spurs in double figures with a very efficient 21 points, and Tre Jones, Sandro Mamukelashvili and Devonte’ Graham each scored 17. Talen Horton-Tucker exploded for 41 points for the Jazz.
- I’ll be honest, I missed the first half of this game because I was babysitting my two-year-old nephew, and his parents were supposed to be home an hour earlier than they were. As a result, I didn’t have time to start from the beginning of this game and finish on time to post this article at the end of the game, so bear with me on the lack of first half observations.
- Both teams put out skeleton crews tonight, with the Spurs sitting Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, Jeremy Sohan and Doug McDermott, while the Jazz were missing Lauri Markkanen, Colin Sexton, Rudy Gay, Jordan Clarkson and Kelly Olynyk. While some may look at the lineups and think it was an ugly game, it really wasn’t since you had two teams of eager, young players looking to make their final case before the end of the season.
- I didn’t know the Jazz had signed Luka Samaic to a ten-day contract (he was previously a two-way player for the Celtics), but tonight was his first NBA minutes since the Spurs waived him in 2021. He had to deal with foul trouble most of the night, but in his 25 minutes, he got 9 points on 2-9 shooting, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Hopefully one day he can realize his potential and find a home in the NBA. He has all the tools to succeed, he just needs to find the drive.
- Even though they have two more home games, both will be in Austin, so this was the Spurs’ final game at the AT&T Center this season. Their final act of the 50th anniversary season was to honor all the 50-year season ticket holders. This was probably one of the hardest seasons for fans to endure, but those who stuck it out, remained loyal and went to the games deserve all the credit. Hopefully the Spurs get the right bounce in the lottery and can reward fans with something new next season.
- Also, hopefully this wasn’t Gregg Popovich’s last game in San Antonio. His announced induction into the Hall of Fame has rumors swirling that he will retire, and Zach Collins was recently quoted saying that, selfishly, he hopes Pop will be back, so clearly he hasn’t guaranteed it one way or the other at this point.
- Prior to the game, Keita Bates-Diop was honored with the 2023 NBA Cares Community Assist reward for the month of February thanks to his work to bring awareness to the importance of CPR training. It’s a subject close to his heart (no pun intended) as it saved his brother’s life when he was younger and gained more attention this year after Damar Hamlin collapsed from cardiac arrest on the field in the NFL playoffs on January 2.
We are proud of you, KBD pic.twitter.com/f5PAM6GePD— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) March 30, 2023
For the Jazz fan’s perspective, visit SLC Dunk.
The Spurs are heading back on the road for three straight games, beginning with the Golden State Warriors on Friday. Tip-off will be at 9:00 PM CT on KENS 5.