SAN ANTONIO — For quite awhile Saturday night, the Utah Jazz's game against the San Antonio Spurs was so bad for the visitors, it appeared the highlight would be athletic Derrick Favors beating old man Tim Duncan for a jump ball.
And, yes, that's taking into consideration how Duncan can barely jump to his tippy toes.
In a stunning-yet-not-so-surprising first half, the Spurs shot 74.3 percent from the field, built a commanding 19-point lead and flummoxed the Jazz on defense for extra measure.
In other words, just another Jazz game at the AT&T Center.
The Spurs ended up winning 110-100 to continue their absolute domination of the Jazz, but it wasn't as comfortable as the lopsided first-half or double-digit final score indicated.
The reason? The game experienced a big shift in Mo.
Point guard Mo Williams sparked an intense comeback, scoring 11 straight points in a 13-0 Jazz blitz at the end of the third quarter. Thanks to that fast-and-furious flurry — and a shockingly excellent 35-17 quarter — the Jazz tied the game to at least make the fourth quarter interesting.
"It just flowed that way. I hit a couple of shots and we got into transition situations and I had it going a little bit," said Williams, who finished with a game-high 29 points and nine assists. "Just like if it was me, if it was Al (Jefferson), if it was Paul (Millsap), if it was Gordon (Hayward), anyone of us. You want to ride the hot hand, and I just happened to be the point guard with the ball in my hand."
Jefferson took the scoring baton from his Mississippi buddy in the fourth quarter, when he scored 10 of his season-high 16 points.
But the Jazz, as happens to them so often against the Spurs, couldn't finish the fight.
Utah only trailed by three points with four minutes left, but the usual San Antonio suspects made them pay for breakdowns.
After Duncan scored inside, Millsap was called for a three-second violation after Big Al dished a pass outside instead of going up for an attempt. Seconds later, Tony Parker put the Spurs up by seven with a jumper.
And, after surviving a slight scare, the Spurs were well on their way to wrapping up their 11th win in 12 meetings with the Jazz.
"That was a big play for us," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "They got up on us and they controlled the tempo from there."
Corbin tried to do what he could to change the tempo in Utah's favor, including playing Millsap (17 points, 10 rebounds) in the small-forward spot to allow Favors more opportunities to be on the floor with his shot-affecting defensive presence.
But the deep and deadly Spurs weren't to be denied.
Parker led San Antonio (3-0) with 24 points and 10 assists, while Duncan provided his ever-steady outing with 19 points and 10 rebounds. What really killed the Jazz, though, were contributions from guys like shooting guard Danny Green (21 points), small forward Kawhi Leonard (13 points) and reserve guard Gary Neal (11 points).
Oh yes, Manu Ginobili also added eight points in his season debut after sitting out games due to back spasms.
"As a team, I don't think we're intimidated by them at all. It's one of those things — match-ups," Millsap said. "They cause a lot of match-up problems for a lot of teams, and when they get into a groove and they're hitting shots, especially at home, they're tough to be beat for anybody."
Corbin was proud of his team's second-half energy, execution and "our fight we showed," but giving up 62 points to the Spurs in the opening two quarters put them down too far.
"Our effort couldn't get any worse than what it was there. We weren't the aggressor on either end of the floor," Corbin said. "We wanted to pick that up after in the third quarter, and we did and we had good results as a result of that."9 comments on this story
Though it isn't San Antonio, another rough spot is up next for the Jazz. They finish off this frustrating road trip — 0-2 so far, including Friday's 88-86 loss at New Orleans — Monday in Memphis.
NOTES: Utah was outscored by an average of 9.3 points in the first, second and fourth quarters. ... The Spurs finished shooting 56.8 percent after their sizzling start. ... Mo Williams was assessed a Flagrant 1 technical foul after wrapping Parker up while defending a drive and then throwing him down. ... Utah is now 2-18 at the AT&T Center.