Spurs 83, Jazz 65

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—It’s getting difficult to remember the last time the San Antonio Spurs lost to the Utah Jazz.

San Antonio’s streak over Utah reached 16 games with a 83-65 victory Monday night in one of the more dominant performances by the Spurs over the four-year stretch.

“It doesn’t always work this way, but we have some principles that we try to stick to, and when we do that and we do it well, we’re a very good team,” Tim Duncan said.

Duncan finished with 31 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots to lead the Spurs as they beat the Jazz for the second time in three nights. It was the Jazz’s lowest point total at home, breaking the previous low of 68 scored against Dallas in April 1997. The team’s all-time low is 56 in a 1999 loss at Seattle.

San Antonio’s streak hardly appeared in jeopardy as Duncan was nearly unstoppable everywhere but the free throw line. He also had three steals in the Spurs’ first of seven straight games on the road.

“Teams reflect what the star is. If he’s working really hard and being aggressive, we all feel like that,” said Manu Ginobili, who came off the bench to add 12 points and four steals for the Spurs.

Tony Parker had 13 points and six assists for San Antonio, which forced 17 turnovers and allowed just one Utah player to score in double figures.

Utah’s last win in the series was 93-90 on Feb. 6, 2000. The Jazz came closer to ending the streak Saturday in an 85-81 loss at San Antonio than they did Monday.

“I thought we would come with a little bit more energy to compete against them but you have to give them credit because they take a lot of that away from you,” Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. “I thought we got satisfied by playing down there, thinking ‘Well, if we come back here we won’t have to play as hard.”’

The Spurs denied Sloan his 900th career coaching win for the second straight game. Sloan was less concerned with the milestone than he was with his team’s performance.

“If we don’t play hard, it doesn’t make any difference who we play against. It looks like we don’t know what we’re doing,” Sloan said.

Andrei Kirilenko led Utah with 10 points, scoring five in the final quarter after the Spurs were already well in control. Greg Ostertag added nine points and eight rebounds.

The Jazz struggled offensively inside and couldn’t stop Duncan on the other end. Duncan, who had 33 points and 14 rebounds Saturday, scored at least 30 for the 13th time this season.

“Guys hit shots, moved the ball around and when that happens with good defense, it becomes easy,” Duncan said.

The only area Duncan had problems from was the free-throw line, where he was just 5-for-12—missing five of six during one stretch.

Utah failed to take advantage.

“I want to beat them as (bad) as anybody in this town, as anybody in this organization—just to snap this losing streak,” Kirilenko said. “Maybe next game. We’ve got one more chance.”

Duncan played just three minutes of the fourth quarter before going to the bench with the Spurs pulling away, then came back in after Mo Williams cut the lead to 71-59 with a pair of free throws for Utah.

Duncan didn’t score again, but the Spurs still went on a 9-2 run.

Utah never recovered after going more than five minutes at the end of the third quarter without a field goal.

After Jarron Collins cut San Antonio’s lead to 53-46 on a layup with 5:31 left in the third quarter, the Jazz didn’t make another field goal in the period. Free throws by Kirilenko and Arroyo were all of Utah’s offense as theSpurs closed the third on an 11-2 run.

Notes

The Spurs play eight of their 10 games this month away from home. … F Mikki Moore, signed by the Jazz last week, made his home debut for Utah when he started the second quarter. … Utah’s DeShawn Stevenson ended up past all four rows of scorers’ and press tables and in the crowd while going for a loose ball in the third quarter. … Bruce Bowen was called for a technical for shovingStevenson after the whistle with 6:14 left in the first quarter.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 San Antonio
T. Duncan T. Duncan
13-20,  31 Pts
11 Rebs, 3 Assists
 Utah
G. Ostertag G. Ostertag
4-7,  9 Pts
8 Rebs, 2 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists