SAN ANTONIO — Members of the Utah Jazz boarded a flight from Phoenix to San Antonio around 11:20 p.m. Friday.
But shortly after being in the air, a mechanical issue forced the pilot to head back to Phoenix, where the guys waited for hours before ultimately changing planes for safety purposes.
In the end, the Jazz didn’t arrive at their team hotel in San Antonio until roughly 5:30 a.m. Saturday with an 8 p.m. tipoff scheduled against the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center.
“I’m not a good flier so, personally, I was getting nervous,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “We kept seeing lights everywhere and kept wondering if we were in Texas after 10 minutes.
“So there was a problem with the plane, and they landed it,” he added. “There was logistical issues, but that’s part of it, our guys know that, but whether it makes it more challenging tonight is irrelevant. We got down safe and ready for the game.”
On the second night of a back-to-back, Donovan Mitchell would sit out with flu-like symptoms after a 40-point performance against the Phoenix Suns on Friday, while Rodney Hood returned from a six-game absence with a lower leg contusion.
“We’re very confident,” Hood said. “We’re not going into the game thinking about that, we’ve just got to go in and start the game right and then go from there.”
WELCOME BACK: Jazz coach Quin Snyder addressed the media fairly quickly ahead of the Spurs-Jazz matchup. As he returned to a familiar setting, Snyder had people to see in a short window of time.
Prior to coaching the Jazz, Snyder learned a lot from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and his staff as head coach of the Austin Toros, San Antonio’s G-League affiliate, from 2007-10.
“I think for me, the Spurs, (general manager) R.C. (Buford) and Pop, opened up both personally and professionally opportunities for me,” Snyder said. "Obviously in Austin, I had the chance to coach their D-League and trying to whatever extent to honor the culture there."
Popovich is rarely one to throw around praise for opposing opponents or coaches, but he holds a lot of respect for Snyder and the way he runs his squad.
“He’s my intellectual mentor,” Popovich said. “He sends things to me that I don’t understand and I try it. "
“He’s a cerebral coach, he’s very dedicated, very knowledgeable, fair and persistent, he’s done a great job getting the program going in the right direction and getting consistency.”