San Antonio (50-25) at Utah (39-36)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Salt Lake City, UT
Temp: 60° F
  • Game info: 9:00 pm EST Fri Apr 2, 2004
  • TV: FSSW, KJZZ
Preview | Box Score | Recap

If Utah makes the playoffs, it will certainly be well-earned. Five of the Jazz’s last seven games are against teams ahead of them in the Western Conference.

The Jazz will begin the final stretch as they host the surging San Antonio Spurs.

Utah, which has a slight lead in the race for the final playoff spot in the West, faces some of the conference’s top teams in the Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves down the stretch.

First, the Jazz must face a Spurs team that has won four straight.

“We have to put a string of games together,” said Jazz center Mikki Moore, who had 15 points in an 89-76 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday. “We can’t wait until the last two or three games and try to make a run. We have to push it right now.”

Moore found out Wednesday that he will be eligible if Utah makes the playoffs.

Moore, who has bounced around the league as a role player with five different NBA teams, has been with the Jazz on and off since the end of January and was not on the roster at the March 1 deadline. But because he was an unrestricted free agent when he signed again March 4, the Jazz said Moore will be eligible should Utah make the playoffs.

Gordan Giricek scored 19 points and Carlos Arroyo had 12 points and five assists for Utah, which won for the fifth time in seven games.

Spurs reserve guard Manu Ginobili made his first nine shots in the second half and finished with 29 points to lead the Spurs to a 107-89 win over the Western Conference-leading Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

The victory allowed the Spurs to remain 1 1/2 games behind Midwest Division-leading Minnesota, which defeated Seattle on Wednesday. San Antonio has seven games remaining, while the Timberwolves have six.

Tim Duncan added 19 points for the Spurs, and Bruce Bowen had a season-high 16 on 7-for-10 shooting. Hedo Turkoglu scored 14 points and Tony Parker 12 as San Antonio shot a season-best 57.5 percent.

Ginobili, who was also top scorer in Monday’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, said the Spurs have been confounding their opponents by diversifying an offense that had long centered on Duncan.

“The other team can’t focus on just one guy because we have a lot of players that can hit shots and beat you,” he said.

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