SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio (40-14) proved too hot to handle Sunday evening, outlasting Utah (29-28) 114-104. Tony Parker scored 28 points to lead the Spurs, while Al Jefferson scored 19 points for the Jazz.
Guards: Devin Harris scored 18 points and dished six assists but shot just 5-of-13; C.J. Miles (seven points) was so-so in 13 minutes. With 17 minutes playing time, Alec Burks spent longer on the floor but shot just 1-of-5 with three turnovers. With 28 points and two steals, Tony Parker became the latest opposing guard to thrash Utah's backcourt. Danny Green, who averages 8.7 points per game, scored 14, while Manu Ginobili gave his latest tune-down-the-Jazz performance with 23 points, including a 14-of-15 display from the charity stripe. GRADE: C-
Forwards: With less points (two, on 1-of-8 shooting) than turnovers (three), Paul Mlilsap certainly had one of his worst games of the season. While Millsap's run of 21 straight games in double figures ended, Gordon Hayward reached a seventh consecutive game in the same category, scoring 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Derrick Favors saw more floor time than the cold Millsap (30 minutes to 21) and responded, scoring 14 points with 12 rebounds. However, Tim Duncan still did his work with 13 points and 16 rebounds in 31 effective minutes. GRADE: C
Centers: Al Jefferson's 19 points came on 9-of-23 shooting from the field. With 10 rebounds, the Mississippi native has registered double-figure nights on the glass in seven of the past nine contests. He out-played Boris Diaw, who nabbed just one rebound to go with nine points. GRADE: B
Bench: The Jazz bench edged San Antonio's, 46-44. Favors' point tally was, perhaps surprisingly, surpassed only by DeMarre Carroll, who scored 16 points in 18 minutes. Outside of a 14-point outing at Phoenix on Dec. 22, Carroll had never registered more than seven points in 17 games. Sunday's contest also marked his third-highest minute total in a game this season. While San Antonio's Diaw was quiet, his backup, Tiago Splitter (nine points, seven rebounds, 17 minutes) out-played Enes Kanter (two points, one rebound, 10 minutes). GRADE: B+1 comment on this story
Overall: Millsap's off-night may have been partially influenced by his trying to keep up with athletic swingmen like Ginobili. Either way, Utah as a whole had problems playing catch up with San Antonio, who shot better than 50 percent from the field, including a blistering 29-of-47 (nearly 62 percent) finside the arc. The Spurs were at the line all evening, shooting 38-of-43 (88.4 percent) from the stripe, while Utah was just 16-of-26 (61.5 percent) from the same spot. Overall, the Jazz were a step behind the entire way. GRADE: C
Rhett Wilkinson majoring in communications and political science at Utah State University. He has previously been an intern for the Deseret News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at Twitter: wilklogan