Spurs dominate Jazz on short rest

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SALT LAKE CITY -- Maybe the San Antonio Spurs should request more stretches of four games in five nights from the NBA schedule-maker.
It hardly seemed to bother this seemingly ageless group.
Forward Tim Duncan scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Spurs to a 100-84 victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday at the EnergySolutions Arena.
"I'm really proud of the guys for playing as well as they did for four (games) in five nights and, basically, let's say a team that's a big long in the tooth," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "And now we're going to do it again three more (games) in four nights or whatever it is. But I thought that their energy and their professionalism was great."
The Spurs (19-4) overcame a sluggish start and mostly maintained a double-digit lead from the middle of the second quarter on to win their fourth game since Tuesday. San Antonio traveled to Utah after beating Minnesota 117-110 at home Friday following wins in Toronto and Milwaukee earlier in the week.
"They are the team that we thought they were. That's not surprising. They are a veteran club," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "They know what to do, when to do and how to do it. They showed us. They just continued to execute."
Rookie Trey Burke led the Jazz with 20 points and five assists in his first match-up with All-Star point guard Tony Parker. But Utah (6-20) only shot 39.3 percent while losing after winning two games in a row, including Friday's surprising 103-93 victory at Denver.
Burke earned himself a new fan in the loss.
"He's got a great demeanor. He doesn't get excited about a good play or get down because there was a mistake. He plays," Popovich said. "He plays with his teammates. He's under control. He's aggressive. He's a fine young player."
Parker scored 15 points with seven assists, forward Kawhi Leonard contributed 13 points and reserve guards Marco Belinelli and Patty Mills each scored 11 as San Antonio beat Utah for a third consecutive time.
"Really good team. You can tell that they're a veteran team and that they've been together for a long time," Burke said of the Spurs. "They have a really good point guard in Tony Parker and great wing players and then you've got Tim Duncan down low. Their execution level is really high."
Shooting guard Gordon Hayward scored 18 points for the Jazz after dropping 30 on the Nuggets on Friday night. However, forward Marvin Williams was the only other Jazz player in double figures with 10 points.
"I think we're still playing well," said Hayward after Utah's two-game win streak ended. "I mean, San Antonio is a good basketball team."
The Jazz took a 6-0 lead on a three-point play by former Spurs forward Richard Jefferson at the 9:14 mark of the first quarter.
San Antonio stormed back with eight straight points and Utah went almost four minutes without scoring until center Derrick Favors evened the score at 8 with 5:26 remaining in the first quarter.
Forward Jeremy Evans gave the Jazz their last lead of the night at 15-14 with 3:18 left in the opening period. The Spurs closed the quarter out on an 8-2 run, and then took complete control in the second quarter.
The Jazz had another scoreless drought for almost four minutes in the second as San Antonio went on a 9-0 spurt to take a 35-22 lead on forward Aron Baynes' three-point play. The Spurs outscored Utah 32-23 in the second for a 55-40 halftime lead.
Jefferson's 3-pointer early in the third quarter brought the Jazz within nine points of the Spurs at 61-52, but San Antonio built its lead up to 21 and was never threatened again after that.
Utah only scored 18 points in the fourth quarter as its home record dropped to 3-10, the same mark as it has on the road.
The Jazz embark on their annual pre-Christmas trip on Monday in Miami where they begin a five-game Southeastern tour that concludes in Memphis on Dec. 23 with stops in Orlando, Atlanta and Charlotte in between.
This was the first stop of a four-game road trip for San Antonio, which plays at the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.
Popovich complimented the bench, which scored 51 points.
"Aron Baynes off the bench was great. Patty Mills was great. Manu (Ginobili) coming off, Marco Belinielli. Those guys really did a good job for us," Popovich said. "Matty (Bonner) came in and knocked down some shots. So we wouldn't have been able to keep up with those young guys if the bench hadn't done what they did."
NOTES: The Jazz assigned two rookies to the D-League on Saturday. C Rudy Gobert and SG Ian Clark were sent to the Bakersfield Jam. They're expected to be in the Jazz affiliate's lineup in time for Sunday's game in Reno. Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said the organization simply wants the two rarely used players to "play extended minutes and learn." ... Gobert was picked 27th overall by Denver in June's draft, but the French big was traded to Utah that night. The 21-year-old has averaged 4.6 rebounds and 2.2 points in 17 appearances. ... Clark went undrafted but was signed by the Jazz after he was named MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League this past summer. ... Starting C Tiago Splitter missed his fourth straight game for the Spurs with tightness in his left calf. C Jeff Ayres started in his place. ... Corbin was drafted by the Spurs 35th overall in 1985 after his DePaul career.

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