Spurs 85, Jazz 81
Duncan had 33 points and 14 rebounds to help San Antonio beat Utah 85-81 Saturday night for its 15th consecutive win over the Jazz.
It was the 12th time this season Duncan has scored 30 points.
“It was a big win for us against a very tough and physical team,” said Duncan, who was 11-of-18 from the field. “My shots are falling and they are feeling really good. I’m just taking them when they are there.”
Carlos Arroyo’s layup with 4 seconds left pulled the Jazz to 83-81, but Manu Ginobili hit two clutch free throws to seal it. Ginobili finished with six points, going 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final 21 seconds.
“It felt good doing something for the team,” Ginobili said. “I wasn’t doing that well during the game. I’m glad to contribute in the last minute.”
The Spurs hit consecutive 3-pointers midway through the fourth quarter to give them their largest lead, 69-59.
Three of the Spurs’ five 3-pointers came in the fourth quarter. But Arroyo converted a three-point play with 1:29 left to cut it to 75-72.
“Tonight we got down by 10 and our heads fell during that stretch, and you could tell we thought we couldn’t win,” Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. “There is always a chance if you execute.”
The Jazz did that, scoring 32 points in the fourth quarter after managing just 11 in the third. They hit 50 percent from the field and went 11-of-11 from the foul line in the fourth, but couldn’t get enough defensive stops to win.
“It was good to get us back in the game,” Arroyo said. “But we fouled them late and they made their free throws.”
Both teams got physical in the second quarter, when four technical fouls were called.
“I thought we were focused, more aggressive in the second half,” Popovich said. “We floated in the first half. Consistency is what we need more than anything to be a good basketball team.”
Duncan scored 17 points in the first half to help the Spurs build a 40-38halftime lead.
San Antonio leads the all-time series 69-62. … Sloan is two wins shyof 900. … The Spurs begin a seven-game road trip that will span three weeks.