This is one of those game you are fortunate to win. You have to catch some breaks and I think we just continued to compete. —Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
SALT LAKE CITY — NBA teams don’t overcome a 13-point or more deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the San Antonio Spurs.
Not against a Gregg Popovich coached team. No way.
Well, it happened.
In 779 situations, that’s happened only four times according to ESPN Stats & Info.
The Utah Jazz gutted out their league-leading 10th consecutive victory Monday, 101-99, after trailing 83-70 at 9:29 in the fourth.
“This is one of those game you are fortunate to win,” said Snyder. “You have to catch some breaks and I think we just continued to compete.
“That’s all it really comes down to,” he added. “When you do that you put yourself in the position to catch a break. That happened tonight and we had some guys who made some plays.”
Utah used a 28-19 run to close the game, but more importantly showed grit on the defensive end and fed off rookie Donovan Mitchell’s 13 fourth-quarter points in front of a sellout Vivint Arena crowd.
Mitchell would shoot 9-for-28 to get 25 points, but made four of his 10 attempts in the final 12 minutes, including a crucial steal off Kyle Anderson and layup with 59.7 seconds remaining to help the Jazz take a 98-97 edge.
“I missed a few shots, just didn’t let it affect me,” Mitchell said. “Just wanted to get a stop on defense. I knew if I could at least get a deflection, take them out of their offense. And fortunately, I got the steal and made the layup.”
Derrick Favors also scored eight of his 19 points in the fourth to go along with eight rebounds and four swats.
Undrafted free agent rookie Royce O’Neale came up with possibly the biggest play of the night on the final possession as he stood his ground to force Kyle Anderson into a near turnover and rushed shot by Manu Ginobili at the buzzer in a one-on-one situation.
O’Neale started in the place of Ricky Rubio for the second straight game, as was sidelined with left hip soreness.
“I knew he was going to shot-fake, so I had to stay down, play defense, lock in and get the stop,” said O’Neale, who ended with eight points and three rebounds. “At that point, I was like, this is for the game so don’t let him score. Don’t fall for the shot fake.”
The Spurs were held to 36.4 percent shooting in the fourth quarter and 14.3 percent from 3 with three turnovers. When holding teams below 100 points, the Jazz are now 18-4 this season.
Utah hasn’t won 10 straight games since 2009 and hasn’t beat the Spurs four straight times since 2009-10.
“They did well,” Popovich said. “They did well.”
Rudy Gobert was also big with 10 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and two blocks while Joe Ingles continued his hot shooting with 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists while going 4 for 6 from 3.
During the 10-game win streak, Ingles is hitting 57.8 percent of his field goals and 57.1 percent from beyond the arc with three consecutive 20-plus point games.
“I think just the opportunities have been there,” Ingles said. “I’m sick of the coaching staff and players telling me to shoot it and I’m just trying to read the game. Read how they’re playing me and if it’s there, I’m going to shoot it.”
The Spurs were playing without All-Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge who was held out with a sore right knee. Anderson would lead the way for the Spurs with 16 points and six rebounds while Pau Gasol added 15 points, 15 rebounds and six dimes.
New Jazz addition Jae Crowder made his home debut in Vivint Arena with 14 points in 33 minutes after being acquired last Thursday as part of the three-team trade.
The 10th straight victory further proved how close-knit this team is as they continue to peak at the right time.
“It shows you how connected this group is,” Crowder said. “I found that out the first day.”
Utah will go for win No. 11 at home Wednesday against Phoenix in its final game before the NBA All-Star break.