It got better for the Jazz momentarily — but then it got much, much, MUCH worse.
Derrick Favors and Paul Millsap led a temporary charge as the Jazz cut the Spurs' lead to five at 31-26.
But in order, Favors and then the Jazz were taken out of the game — one by Corbin, the others by Popovich's crew.
After Favors exited and Al Jefferson entered with 6:50 remaining in the opening half, San Antonio went on a massive 20-0 run, hitting four 3-pointers and simply blowing the Jazz out of the building.
Remember that little fort in downtown Antonio?
More like, forget the AT&T Center.
The killer run, Jefferson said, "just showed that they had a lot of energy and they did what they were supposed to do."
Added Millsap: "It's just like they kicked into another gear. We cut it down to five. They brought their guys back in and they just pushed it out."
With spurs marks in their backsides, things didn't get any better in the second half for the Jazz. San Antonio outscored Utah 34-25 in the third quarter before a contest was held to allow fans to don Spurs uniforms to finish off the Jazz in the final quarter (or so it seemed).
It wasn't the Big Three that doomed Utah, either.
Early on, when it mattered most, it was the Tiny Two of — you guessed it — Danny Green (13 first-half points) and Kawhi Leonard (12 of his 17 in the opening half) who did most of the early damage.
Green had three 3-pointers in the Spurs' spurt, and the ex-San Diego State rookie scored five points during that dominating stretch.
"We were hustling and thought our effort was there for the most part, but we couldn't get the ball to fall in the hole," Corbin said. "Then they came down and got easy shots or make a three-point shot. It kind of took the spirit a little bit from us."
Seven Spurs ended up in double figures, led by Tony Parker's 18 points and nine assists. San Antonio shot 57.3 percent overall and 10-for-22 from deep while also punishing the Jazz in the paint, 62-36.
"This is a great ballclub," Corbin added. "We have to learn that this is how you have to play in the playoffs."
Josh Howard and Big Al were the only double-figure scorers for the Jazz with 10 points apiece in a 34.4 percent shooting night. The Jazz scored 17 points in the first quarter and just 11 in the second.
"They're just a great team," Jefferson said. "They did what they supposed to do on their home floor. They jumped out on us, put their foot on our neck and never released."
Kindly, Tim Duncan (12 points, 13 rebounds) took his foot off of Jefferson's throat long enough for him to get out that sentence.
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