Parker leads Spurs to 3-0 series advantage over JazzBy The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Sun, May 6, 2012 2:10 AM EDT
SALT LAKE CITY -- In their first home playoff game in two years, the Utah Jazz played much better than they did in two blowout losses at San Antonio. That didn't, however, translate into a Jazz win. And judging NBA history, the Spurs are second-round-bound. Tony Parker scored 27 points, Tim Duncan added 17 and the deep Spurs put the Jazz on the brink of elimination with an impressive 102-90 victory at EnergySolutions Arena on Saturday night. Five Spurs hit double figures as the visitors went ahead 3-0 in this first-round series. "It hurts because it puts us down 3-0. It's a tough loss on our home floor," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "I thought we played better, but we just couldn't put it together enough to get over the hump against these guys." San Antonio will have its first of four potential chances to close this out and advance to the second round Monday night in Utah. No team has come back from down 3-0 to win a best-of-seven series. "We expected them to have a much better effort, play a much better game, especially here at home," Duncan said. "Good win for us. We had a lot of guys really step up and play well for us." San Antonio dominated Utah inside, outscoring the bigger Jazz 50-28 in the paint. The Spurs also outscored Utah 50-40 in the second half after leading by two at halftime. "I think they are experienced enough to realize that an NBA game is 48 minutes and anything can happen," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "You can look at some of the other games and other series and it's the same way -- you just don't stop playing. They (Spurs players) know that if they just stick with each other and the system that often times things are going to turn your way." The Jazz seemed like they might be building some momentum early in the third quarter when Devin Harris continued his hot ways. He scored six points to open the second half, helping Utah take a 58-56 lead. But the Spurs answered with a 10-2 run, a spurt that included back-to-back 3-pointers by Danny Green and Stephen Jackson. Josh Howard answered with a long ball for Utah, but another Jackson 3-pointer and a bucket by Tiago Splitter gave the Spurs their biggest lead of the game late in the third at 75-65. Splitter kept the momentum going into the fourth quarter with four quick points. Jackson followed that with a basket, putting San Antonio up 81-68 with under 11 minutes remaining. The Jazz reserves showed some life after a timeout, going on an 8-0 run to cut the Spurs' lead to seven at 81-76. That, however, proved to be the closest Utah could get. Parker fueled a game-clinching 9-2 surge for the Spurs with two baskets and an assist as San Antonio silenced the usually loud crowd by going ahead by 12 with 5:31 left. "At a certain point of time, you've got to pick up the intensity," Corbin said, "and they did a little better than we did tonight." Al Jefferson and Harris both scored 21 points to lead the Jazz after struggling in the setbacks in San Antonio. But Utah only shot 40.4 percent compared to 48.8 percent for San Antonio. Derrick Favors had a big night off the bench for the Jazz, with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Jefferson and Paul Millsap also had 11 boards. The Spurs were boosted by complementary performances from the likes of Green (14 points), Jackson (13 points) and Splitter (10 points). Manu Ginobili dished out 10 assists. Duncan scored 13 points in the first half and Parker contributed 11 as the red-hot Spurs shot 55.3 percent from the field to take a 52-50 lead into halftime. Spurs forward Matt Bonner hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from to put San Antonio ahead at the break. Coach Gregg Popovich called a timeout with 3.4 seconds remaining to set up the play in which Ginobili rushed down court and found Bonner wide open in the corner. Harris gave the Jazz a much-needed spark in the first quarter when he scored 12 of his 14 first-half points. Harris had more points in the first half Saturday than he scored in the two losses at AT&T Center (12). "It's encouraging that I had a good game, but it means nothing because we didn't win the game," Harris said. "Obviously, it's discouraging, but we've got to do a better job of getting everybody involved."
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