SALT LAKE CITY — Three days removed from the second-worst postseason defeat in Jazz history, Utah made it more interesting Saturday at home but ultimately fell 102-90 to San Antonio.
Al Jefferson and Devin Harris led the Jazz with 21 points apiece, while Tony Parker led five Spurs in double figures with 27.
GUARDS: After averaging just six points and 1.5 assists in the first two games of the series, Harris busted out Saturday night. However, his five assists were paired by three turnovers, giving Harris eight turnovers in the series. Gordon Hayward may have tallied five assists — he has 11 for the series — but was a liability otherwise on the offensive end, shooting just 1 of 10 (including 0 of 5 from beyond the arc) to score four points. Hayward has now scored 12 points on 4-of-20 shooting in the past two games after scoring 17 in Game 1. Even factoring that contest, however, Hayward is still 6 of 26 for the series. San Antonio's Tony Parker remained difficult to stop, scoring 27 points while being complemented with 14 from Danny Green. Parker has averaged 24.3 points in the series. GRADE: C-
FORWARDS: By shooting 4 of 11 from the field and 1 of 4 from the charity stripe, Paul Millsap has shot just 8 of 22 and 7 of 15, respectively, in the past two games. At least he grabbed 11 rebounds. After shooting 3 of 13 in the first two games of the series, Josh Howard scored five points on 2-of-2 shooting but was largely a non-factor. After a 17-point Game 2 outing, rookie Kawhi Leonard scored just two points in 15 minutes, but Tim Duncan provided 17. The veteran Duncan has averaged 14.5 points and made nearly half his field-goal attempts. GRADE: C-
CENTERS: It's difficult to complain about Al Jefferson's 21-point, 11-rebound outing, especially after he scored just 10 points on 5-of-15 shooting with five rebounds in Game 2. Opposers Boris Diaw and Tiago Splitter combined to score 12 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks. Diaw's two-point, 0-of-3 outing was a far cry from his 20 combined points on 9-of-11 shooting in the first two games of the series. GRADE: A-
BENCH: San Antonio's bench once again outscored the Jazz reserves — this time by a 40-30 count. Tyrone Corbin gave Derrick Favors 31 minutes — the most of the series — and the youngster offered mixed reviews. Favors had a 15-point, 11-rebound double-double but shot just 5 of 14 fom the field and 5 of 10 from the free-throw line. Alec Burks was a highlight in scoring 11 points, especially after he shot 3 of 11 in the first two games of the series. Stephen Jackson and Splitter combined to score 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting in 42 total minutes. Jackson's 13 points means he has averaged 13.5 points per game in Games 1 and 3 after averaging less than nine per game with San Antonio during the regular season. GRADE: C-1 comment on this story
OVERALL: This may sound like a broken record, but shooting 40 percent from the field while going 14 of 26 from the charity stripe certainly will not cut it when the other side, a top NBA title competitor, is posting 49 percent and 17 of 22 in the same categories. The Spurs have shown superior experience and cohesiveness during the three games of these playoffs. While that wasn't so apparent in the first half of Saturday's game, it revealed itself in the second half, when the Spurs showed why they are a Gregg Popovich, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan-led team. 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 email@example.com or on Twitter: @wilklogan