SAN ANTONIO — After defeating San Antonio by 34 points just five nights earlier, the Utah Jazz had to know they wouldn’t have a similar easy time against the Spurs at the AT&T Center Sunday night. However, they probably didn’t figure the Spurs would lay a whipping on them either.
While the Spurs only beat the Jazz by 13 points, 110-97, they were in control pretty much the whole game and especially after a 17-0 run from the end of the first quarter through the beginning of the second. That put the Jazz in a catch-up mode from which they could never recover.
The loss dropped the Jazz below .500 again to 13-14, the same record as the Spurs as they get ready for a Monday night game at Oklahoma City.
“They’re the same team, they’re just a lot better and we weren’t as good as we needed to be,” said Utah coach Quin Snyder. “We started the game looking pretty good defensively and then went through a period where we didn’t score for a long time.”
The Jazz got a terrific game from Ricky Rubio, who scored 26 points on 11-of-23 shooting, a good game from Donovan Mitchell, who scored all 27 of his points in the second half, and a decent game from Rudy Gobert, who had 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
However, they didn’t get much from the rest of the team as no one else reached double figures in scoring. Except for Thabo Sefalosha, who had a nice stretch in the second quarter when he scored all nine of his points on 4-of-4 shooting, no one else even scored more than five points as Joe Ingles managed five points, while Derrick Favors and Jae Crowder each finished with just two points on the night.
The Jazz just couldn’t survive a pair of droughts, the aforementioned 17-0 run by the Spurs that turned an 18-13 deficit into a 30-18 lead early in the second quarter and a 12-0 run to end the first half, giving the Spurs a 54-36 halftime lead.
“We started the game well, the defense was good and we were moving the ball, but the second quarter the ball stopped moving. They really gained confidence from that,” said Gobert. “We came back in the second half, we got stops and played well, but we couldn’t catch them.”
As Gobert said, the Jazz fought back in the second half, closing the gap to 10 after three quarters at 82-72 after Mitchell and Rubio combined for 27 of Utah’s 34 points in the quarter, and they pulled within five at 88-83 after Mitchell hit back-to-back jumpers from the right angle, including a 3-pointer.
However, a turnover by Mitchell and a miss by Kyle Korver and another miss by Mitchell allowed the Spurs to run off nine straight points, and that was it for the Jazz.
“Little things … every little thing matters at that point, and we just didn’t execute down the stretch,” said Mitchell.
The Spurs were led by Rudy Gay, who had a brilliant game with 23 points and 15 rebounds, and DeMar DeRozan, who finished with 26 points and eight assists. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 20 and Bryn Forbes added 15, while Marco Belinello chipped in 10 points off the bench.5 comments on this story
"He just made plays, he posted up, he drove, he got a couple of offensive rebounds — he played well," Snyder said of Gay.
The Jazz will have little time to regroup before playing the Thunder Monday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena (6 p.m. MST). Then it’s back home for one game Wednesday against Miami before a game Saturday in Mexico City against Orlando, followed by a game in Houston on Monday.
“It’s over with and we can’t carry it over to OKC,” said Mitchell. “It’s a totally different team. It’s one of the crazier environments in the league, and we just have to be ready.”