It can safely be said that any reports of the San Antonio Spurs’ demise have been greatly exaggerated. The Utah Jazz and the rest of the NBA continue to learn this lesson and may continue learning this lesson for years to come. As has been the case the past many matchups, the Spurs once again came out on top, defeating the Jazz 122-104.
Each passing year, some predict San Antonio’s decline, but if it has a window of opportunity to keep contending, that has to be one very big window. Thanks to stellar coaching, shrewd management, a strong system and elite players, the Spurs not only silence those whispers, but turn things up the second half of the season. With its victory over Utah, San Antonio not only built upon the best record in the NBA, but now has its 15th consecutive 50-win season.
The rebuilding Jazz squad played hard and kept things within striking distance midway through the third quarter. The Spurs then pounced with a quick, decisive run that made the evening’s end result anything but suspenseful. San Antonio outscored Utah each quarter.
The Jazz are now tied for the fourth-worst record in the NBA.
Balanced attack: San Antonio keeps getting Hall of Fame contributions from its future Hall of Fame players, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. The trio combined a relatively effortless 55 points and 15 assists, with each playing 30 or fewer minutes. But the Spurs' role players came through as well. Tiago Splitter (14 points), Marco Belinelli (12), Patty Mills (12) and Kawhi Leonard (11) all reached double-figures and each San Antonio player who toiled 10 or more minutes had a positive +/- mark (Conversely, every Jazz player who did so was negative).
Favors’ explosion: Utah’s Derrick Favors had one of his best games of the season, despite it coming in a losing effort. The big man was aggressive and decisive with his moves, taking it right at Duncan for much of the evening. While he missed his final three shots, Favors finished 12-of-19 from the floor. He scored on a variety of moves. Favors finished with a game-high 28 points, 10 rebounds and three steals.
Odds and ends:
• San Antonio hit 10-of-16 3-pointers — good for 62.5 percent.
• In the second quarter, Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin went with a very small front court with Jeremy Evans at center and Marvin Williams at power forward.
• Utah only had eight turnovers.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops (ESPN's Jazz affiliate). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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