San Antonio Spurs give Utah Jazz inhospitable reception in playoff return

Published: Sunday, April 29 2012 4:00 p.m. MDT

SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 29: Tiago Splitter #22 of the San Antonio Spurs takes a shot against Derrick Favors #15 of the Utah Jazz in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on April 29, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Ronald Martinez, Getty Images

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SAN ANTONIO — The Utah Jazz left the Alamo City and flew back home to the Beehive State shortly after Sunday's playoff game.

And who can blame them?

Between the French guy and the grumpy old man they had to deal with, the Jazz didn't get a very warm greeting in their return to the NBA playoffs after a postseason away.

"I wouldn't say it was a rude awakening," Jazz point guard Devin Harris said. "But they did what they were supposed to do. We've got to respond now."

Amidst AT&T crowd chants of "MVP-MVP-MVP," Frenchman Tony Parker had an MVP-like performance while helping slam the Game 1 door in the Jazz's face during the San Antonio Spurs' 106-91 victory Sunday afternoon.

Tim Duncan chased the young Jazz kids off his porch with a clutch-when-he-needed-to-be playoff-opener that included 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Making it worse, the Spurs' superior sidekicks pulled the welcome mat out from under Utah, with Stephen Jackson (14 points), Matt Bonner (nine), Boris Diaw (nine) and Manu Ginobili (seven) each contributing to San Antonio's rout.

If the Jazz were hoping for hospitable hosts — not to mention a feel-good result for the underdogs — they probably should've looked for a town that doesn't have Gregg Popovich and four NBA Finals banners.

"We've got to get better. We've got to be more sharp and determined to run off and make sure we get the spots that we want to," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said after his first playoff game as the main bench boss. "These guys are experienced guys. They are physical. They are going to try and knock you off everything and … have their hands on you all night."

The Parker-led Spurs' offense clicked as smoothly as ever, especially in timely situations in the third and fourth quarters after the Jazz scraped back into it.

"He's a good player. He's having an MVP-type season," Harris said of Parker. "We've got to do a better job of trying to keep him out of the paint."

Utah had been struggling when it went on a 6-0 run immediately after Corbin teamed up his Big Three of Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors and Paul Millsap with Harris and Gordon Hayward.

But the Spurs responded by closing off that quarter on an 11-4 run, thanks in large part to excellent spacing and shooting (including 3-pointers by Gary Neal, Jackson and Bonner).

San Antonio had another quick answer — a Parker steal and Bonner trey — for the Jazz after a gutsy surge by Utah cut the lead down to 89-81 with seven-plus minutes to go. The Jazz ended up only scoring 10 more points the rest of the game.

"They took care of business," Harris said. "They're a veteran team."

This was the Jazz's first playoff game in two years — since being swept 4-0 by the Lakers in the second round in 2010.

It'd been even longer since veterans like Harris, Al Jefferson, Josh Howard and Jamaal Tinsley experienced postseason hoops, and it was the first taste for youngsters like Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, DeMarre Carroll, Alec Burks and Enes Kanter.

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