Spurs 94, Jazz 81
SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—San Antonio’s winning streak over Utah will live through another season.
The Spurs beat the Jazz 94-81 on Friday night, San Antonio’s 17th straight victory in a streak that goes back to when people were just getting over Y2K fears.
“I don’t know why we beat them, but it will end one day,” Spurs guard Tony Parker, who had five assists. “But tonight, we played hard and moved the ball around. It’s not easy to beat them.”
The Spurs didn’t make it look that difficult, either, holding off a few second-half comebacks by the Jazz and pulling away in the final minutes.
Tim Duncan, who scored just one point in the first quarter, finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Devin Brown added a career-high 19 points and had seven rebounds for the Spurs, who won their fifth straight and damaged Utah’s playoff hopes.
Brown’s previous career high was just 11, scored Jan. 26 against Milwaukee. He went 8-for-13 from the field, including a one-handed dunk off a rebound as the Spurs put the game away in the fourth quarter.
“I was going to tip it in, but I haven’t dunked it for a while. So I just dunked it,” Brown said.
The Spurs have quietly sneaked within 1 1/2 games of the top record in the Western Conference.
With Utah’s loss and Denver’s win over Houston, the Jazz dropped into 10th place in the Western Conference—a half-game behind Portland and Denver.
Utah last beat San Antonio on Feb. 6, 2000. The only Jazz player remaining on the team from that season is center Greg Ostertag, who had two points and two rebounds as the Jazz struggled against Duncan and the Spurs inside.
The Jazz have six games remaining in the regular season.
“Still plenty of time to work our way back in there. We’re only half a game out,” Ostertag said.
The Jazz led by 10 early and held Duncan to just one point in the first quarter, but couldn’t sustain it after unraveling in the second quarter.
Utah was called for 10 fouls in the second period, including technicals on Raja Bell and coach Jerry Sloan, and the Spurs 10-for-12 from the line.
“We had our chances, but we blew it. We blew it big,” Giricek said. “We had a 10-point lead and we lost it.”
After trailing 49-41 at halftime, the Jazz made a run and cut the lead to 57-56 on a 3-pointer by Carlos Arroyo, but Turkoglu finally gave the Spurs some scoring other than Duncan with a 3 at the 4-minute mark. Duncan had scored San Antonio’s first eight points of the period.
Brown, whose previous career best was 11, hit a jumper just before the buzzer to put the Spurs up 70-62 at the end of the third and added a free throw on a three-second violation early in the fourth. Ginobili kept the Spurs rolling with a 3-pointer to give San Antonio a 74-62 lead—the largest of the game at that point.
The Jazz, playing with a lineup of reserves, scored the next six points to cut the lead in half, but got no closer.
With the Spurs up 82-74, Brown leaped for a rebound off a miss by Parker, grabbed the ball and slammed it down in one motion to put San Antonio back up by 10.
“Devin did a great job, especially with that putback at the end,” Duncansaid. “He went to the basket and hit the glass.”
: Duncan was blocked twice by Kirilenko under the Spurs’ basket on the same possession in the first half. … Sloan got a technical with 6:49 after complaining about an offensive foul called on Ostertag. … Utah’s Mikki Moore was called for three fouls in a span of 16 seconds in the second quarter. SanAntonio outrebounded Utah 36-32.