TOM SMART, DESERET MORNING NEWS
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Jazz coach Jerry Sloan shake hands after the Utah Jazz are defeated by the San Antonio Spurs in game 5 of the NBA Western Conference Finals in San Antonio, Texas, May 30, 2007. Photo by Tom Smart
One of my people that I always thought of as sort of a mentor from a distance was Jerry Sloan. —Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich

SALT LAKE CITY — Before the Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs squared off Thursday night at Vivint Arena, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich gave a tip of the cap to the legendary Jerry Sloan.

Popovich noted the good season his power forward, LaMarcus Aldridge, is having, and was asked if Aldridge’s teammates are helping him have a better campaign. Popovich didn’t answer the question directly, but did take an opportunity to mention Sloan.

“We’ve been doing the same things for a long time. One of my people that I always thought of as sort of a mentor from a distance was Jerry Sloan. He did the same thing for a long time. Everybody knew what they were going to do, but people still couldn’t stop them. We sort of have the same philosophy. Do what you do well, and you either win or you lose and then you can go home.”

JAZZ ROSTER CHANGE: The Utah Jazz on Thursday made a change at the end of their roster, waiving two-way player Eric Griffin and signing Erik McCree to a two-way deal in his place.

The waiving of Griffin marks the end of a stint that showed some level of promise early, as the 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward was impressive during summer league for the Jazz, prompting them to sign him to a deal.

Griffin never appeared in a regular-season game for Utah, but averaged 17.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in 31.6 minutes over 19 games for the Salt Lake City Stars.

The 6-foot-8, 225-pound McCree played collegiately at Louisiana Tech and has played 13 games this season for the G League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce, where he averaged 16.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 29 minutes per contest.

TV TALK: Both Popovich and Jazz head coach Quin Snyder were asked if they thought it curious that TNT televised the game since both Utah and San Antonio were on a second leg of a back-to-back.

Neither one seemed to care much.

“To be honest with you, I’m not going to speculate on television or scheduling,” Snyder said. It just is what it is … I’ve got other things to think about, to be honest with you.”

As forthright as Snyder was in his thoughts, Popovich, perhaps expectedly, was more blunt.

“I don’t think about things like that,” he said.

INJURY REPORT: A bevy of both teams’ players did not play Thursday, as Donovan Mitchell and Raul Neto again joined Dante Exum and Rudy Gobert on the bench, while the Spurs were without Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Pau Gasol and Derrick White.