Off the heels of their first win of the season, the Utah Jazz came out with the same great effort and hustle Friday evening. And through three quarters, Utah was right there with the visiting San Antonio Spurs. It was a matter of a veteran-laden, championship team exerting itself over a youthful, learning one. San Antonio’s dominant fourth quarter secured it a 91-82 victory.
The Jazz pounced on the Spurs early on, pouring in 29 first-quarter points. Utah displayed great energy and was controlling the boards, along with the pace of the game. At one juncture, it owned a 15-point advantage and despite a difficult second period, the Jazz had a 67-60 lead after three quarters. But it was all San Antonio during the final 12 minutes. The Spurs went on a nine-point run in a total of 46 seconds and never looked back. They outscored the Jazz 31-15, using their savvy offense and stout defense to impose their will on the game’s final outcome.
All-Star point guard Tony Parker almost singlehandedly outscored Utah in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 of his game-high 22 points in the last stanza. Boris Diaw was huge off the bench, contributing 17 points and helping keep San Antonio within distance in the first half. Big man Derrick Favors paced the Jazz with a 20-point, 18-rebound performance.
Rotation: Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin made a change in the starting line-up, inserting Alec Burks as the opening point guard. It paid early dividends as Burks was integral to the Jazz’s quick start. That said, Burks’ absence from the bench rendered Utah’s second unit ineffectual. The Jazz’s reserves mustered a mere 11 points on five of 16 shooting. Conversely, San Antonio’s counterparts registered 35 points.
Hayward struggles: After a string of excellent outings, swingman Gordon Hayward endured a difficult evening. While he contributed nine rebounds and three assists, Utah’s leading scorer could not buy a basket. He missed 18 of his 23 field goal attempts. San Antonio, led by forward Kawhi Leonard, did a fine job keeping Hayward from the hoop, forcing a bevy of long two-point attempts. As a result, Hayward pressed at times and never got going, particularly in the second half.
Odds and ends:
• After one of the worst games of his career (one of 12 shooting for two points Wednesday versus the Washington Wizards), Tim Duncan bounced back to chip in 14 points and nine rebounds. The 37-year-old center made several big defensive plays down the stretch.
• Fresh off his heroics Wednesday night, recent pickup Diante Garrett got the backup point guard nod over teammate John Lucas III. His shooting was errant, but he showed a willingness and ability defensively.
• After not appearing in Utah’s last game, Rudy Gobert snared five rebounds in just four minutes.
• After battling some injuries, notorious Jazz nemesis Matt Bonner was cleared before tipoff to play, but did not appear in the game.
• The Jazz’s Marvin Williams suffered a broken nose, but played through it.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops, the Jazz's ESPN.com affiliate. He is on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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