SAN ANTONIO (TICKER) —If this was an early playoff preview, the Utah Jazz are in trouble.
Sparked by Duncan, who scored 30 points on 14-of-22 shooting, the Spurs extended their winning streak against the Jazz to 12 games. The teams meet again in Utah on April 14.
The Jazz are hoping that is the last time they see the Spurs this season. San Antonio is in third place in the Western Conference while Utah is sixth, meaning the teams would square off in the first round of the playoffs if the standings do not change.
“We matchup pretty well with (the Jazz) and have had some pretty good success,” Duncan said. “They’re a very good executing team.”
San Antonio, which won for the 15th time in its last 18 games, is two games behind first-place Dallas in the Midwest Division with 10 games left.
“We have to play out of our minds to catch (the Mavericks),” Spurs center David Robinson said. “We still have a chance, and to catch them would be outstanding, but we’re really going to have to work to get better.”
Greg Ostertag had 16 points and 10 rebounds for Utah, which had a season-high six-game winning streak stopped. Jazz coach Jerry Sloan was ejected early in the fourth quarter after picking up his second technical foul.
Coming off Friday’s victory over Milwaukee, the Jazz were within 66-58 with 3:34 left in the third quarter following a dunk by Ostertag, who finished 7-of-11 from the field.
But the Jazz did not score for the remainder of the quarter and went 8:47 until their next basket. During the scoring drought, the Jazz missed 10 straight shots and committed four of their 22 turnovers. San Antonio turned the turnovers into 29 points.
Duncan and Parker each made running jumpers to fuel a 12-0 surge to end the third quarter that opened a 78-58 lead. Duncan took a seat for good with 66 seconds left in the third.
Duncan also added eight rebounds, helping the Spurs control the boards. San Antonio had 24 offensive rebounds and garnered a 48-37 edge on the glass.
David Robinson started the fourth quarter with a layup and Malik Rose had a dunk, making it 82-58 with 10:36 to play. Just 15 seconds later, Sloan was ejected after picking up his second technical.
Rose contributed nine points off the bench and Smith and Speedy Claxton each added eight for the Spurs, who shot 48 percent (41-of-86).
“Tonight we just really didn’t play our game,” said Stockton, who finished with 10 points and six assists. “We knew what we had to do tonight, but we just couldn’t get the consistency that we’ve shown in our other games. We really went up against a great team tonight, and they just really took advantage of our mistakes.”
Duncan did most of his damage in the first half, when scored 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting while helping the Spurs to a 50-41 lead.