Tim Duncan and most of the San Antonio Spurs' starters could have taken a nice stroll around Salt Lake City during the second half Friday night. They could have visited Temple Square, shopped at The Gateway, maybe even grabbed a slice of pie at Village Inn.
It wouldn't have made a difference on the scoreboard.
While having their eight-game winning streak snapped by the Utah Jazz in a 90-64 rout, the Spurs after halftime were outplayed, outrebounded, outshot, outhustled and in many cases, well, simply just out.
"At some point, you're going to get your butt kicked," said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, "and tonight they did it."
The Jazz did most of their derriere damaging with the Spurs' key players on the bench, where Duncan et al watched their team tie a franchise-record low mark for scoring in a game.
"They beat us in every possible aspect of the game," said sixth man Manu Ginobili. "They were much more aggressive than us. They looked like they wanted the game more than us."
At least the Spurs, who fell to 52-24 and 1 1/2 games behind Southwest Division-leading New Orleans, will be well-rested for their next game on Sunday at Portland.
"It was out of reach. I think Pops just decided to give us some rest. The playoffs are coming," said point guard Tony Parker, who logged just under 30 minutes with 17 points in the blowout. "Just give a lot of credit to Utah. They played a great game."
When Duncan subbed out with 2:59 remaining in the third quarter as part of his normal substitution pattern San Antonio only trailed 56-48. The power forward never reentered as this one avalanched away from the Spurs, who hadn't been this futile offensively since March 25, 1997, against Cleveland.
Parker also received some extra comp time on the sideline for the whole fourth quarter, while Ginobili and starters Bruce Bowen, Michael Finley and Fabricio Oberto all played 3:34 or less in the final period.
The Jazz took advantage, bursting to a 77-55 lead after scoring the first 13 points of the fourth.
"The game kind of got away from us," said Duncan, who finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in just 26 1/2 minutes. "Coach decided we'd ... give our subs a run at it for a couple of minutes and hopefully we could get within striking distance and get the guys back in. And it just didn't happen."
Of course, the way the Jazz were playing in the second half when they turned a two-point halftime lead into a 29-point advantage in the fourth quarter it might not have mattered who was on the court for the Spurs.
"Utah played a great game tonight," Popovich said. "Their defense was good, their physicality really took its toll by the third quarter on us and, in addition to that, they made threes. They played well and beat us good."
Duncan, who had some physical moments with Jazz big men Mehmet Okur and Carlos Boozer, also thought Utah gave the Spurs somewhat of a beating, pick your meaning of the word.
"They were very physical tonight. They got a way with a lot," Duncan said. "They made shots. They played very well. A lot of credit to them and what
they did. Defensively, they were solid. They attacked the ball very well."Duncan said he'll "play through that" when the Jazz visit San Antonio for the teams' regular-season finale on April 16. Heck, he and the starters might even play through the fourth quarter then, too.
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