San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was in a good mood Wednesday. Nothing fazed him. Not even a reminder that his bench was outscored 26-3 by the Jazz in Game 1.

"It's not good, is it?" replied Popovich when asked about San Antonio's reserves. "We're just going to tell them to score more. I think that's the solution."If Popovich doesn't sound worried, it's only because he isn't. San Antonio was 25-7 in the regular season when it outscored the opposition's bench and 30-18 when it didn't. The Spurs, however, went 10-12 in the latter when on the road.

"If we only get three points off the bench," Popovich acknowledged after Utah's 83-82 victory in the series opener, "we're going to be in trouble."

A three-point basket by Jaren Jackson in the second quarter wound up being the lone offense from the Spurs bench. Chuck Person, who joined Jackson as the only San Antonio reserves to play more than eight minutes in Game 1, said contributions were made.

"(Our point production) is misleading because we don't go to our bench as a first or second option in the offense," said Person, who missed a three-point shot with 31.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to draw increased attention to the lack of bench scoring. "But I thought we defended well."

San Antonio's reserves also held their own on the boards, though the Jazz finished with a slight 12-10 rebounding advantage.

"We'll need even more energy on defense in Game 2," Person said.

Teammates David Robinson and Avery Johnson, however, want more offense as well. The duo were the only other Spurs to join Tim Duncan, who finished with a game-high 33 points, in double-figures. Robinson scored 16, while Avery added 14. As a trio, they accounted for all but 19 of San Antonio's points Tuesday.

"We've got to have some points off the bench," said Robinson.

The Admiral figures the Spurs will need to score 90-95 points Thursday in order to be successful.

"Our bench can't score three points per game," Johnson added. "We need some energy and I think (our bench) is going to give it to us the rest of the series."

Speaking on behalf of teammates Monty Williams, Carl Herrera, Reggie Geary, Brad Lohaus, Malik Rose and Jackson, Person believes the reserves are up to the challenge.

"We feel pretty good," he said, while accepting the fact that offensive opportunities could be limited. The Spurs bench played a combined 60 minutes in Game 1 and attempted just six shots from the field. Defense, Person said, is where the major contributions may come from the reserves.



Where's the bench?

Players on San Antonio's bench accounted for only three points in Tuesday night's 83-82 loss to the Utah Jazz in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.


Jaren Jackson 27 3 1 3

Chuck Person 22 3 0 0

Monty Williams 8 0 0 0

Carl Herrera 3 0 0 0

The series

Second Round

Game 1 Jazz 83

Spurs 82

Karl Malone leads Jazz with 25 points

Game 2 San Antonio

Thurs. at UTAH

May 7 TV TIME: TNT, KJZZ, 8:30 p.m.

Game 3 UTAH at

May 9 San Antonio

TV TIME: NBC, 1:30 p.m.

Game 4 UTAH at

May 10 San Antonio

TV TIME: TNT, KJZZ, 7:00 p.m.

If necessary

Game 5 San Antonio

May 12 at UTAH

TV TIME: To be announced

If necessary

Game 6 UTAH at May 14 San Antonio

TV TIME: To be announced

If necessary

Game 7 San Antonio

May 16 at UTAH

TV TIME: To be announced