The San Antonio Spurs have had the Utah Jazz’s number for several years and they continued to do so Saturday night. Last season’s Western Conference champions had no difficulty whatsoever snapping Utah’s two-game winning streak. The Spurs won three of the four quarters and were never really threatened en route to a decisive 100-84 victory.
San Antonio played its trademark, fundamentally strong style. The Spurs executed offensively as if they have been playing together for years, which they naturally have been doing. They passed the ball well, leading to good shots all evening — shots they hit all evening. Likewise, they dominated defensively, causing the Jazz to not be able to do the instrumental things that led to their consecutive wins this week.
Utah will look to get back to winning but faces a tough challenge as it embarks on the traditional holiday five-game road trip starting with the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat.
Ageless wonders: At the rate he is going, Spurs great Tim Duncan will be leading the only team for whom he has ever played for many more seasons. While his minutes have declined over the years, his impact on a game’s outcome is as good as ever. Against the Jazz, Duncan set the tone for San Antonio, and like they have for nearly two decades, his steady cast of teammates followed his example.
Duncan only played 29 minutes, which is actually slightly ahead of his season average. He let his play during those minutes do the talking. He pulled moves out of his offensive repertoire, employing a mix of interior moves with his customary perimeter shooting prowess. His 22 points paced his team. His 12 rebounds propelled San Antonio to a dominant 55-42 board edge over Utah. The sure-fire Hall of Famer looked every bit the part.
Fellow star Tony Parker also did his routine damage, tallying 15 points, seven assists and five rebounds in just 30 minutes.
Utah’s backcourt: The bright spot for Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin was the play of his backcourt pair of Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward. The former stepped up for the challenge of matching up with the All-NBA Parker. He connected on 9 of 18 shots and registered 20 points and five assists in the losing effort. Hayward was nearly spot-on with his normal output, tossing in 18 points, five assists and five rebounds for Utah.
Odds and ends:
• The Jazz sent rookies Rudy Gobert and Ian Clark to their D-League affiliate, leaving the team with their active roster for the next period of time.
• Ten of the Spurs' 13 players sported positive +/- marks, showing how San Antonio held the advantage with both its starters and its bench.
• The Spurs were without usual starting center Tiago Splitter.
• Utah’s reserves only made 9 of their 35 field goal attempts, a lowly 25.7 percent.
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.