Duncan leads Spurs past Jazz for fourth straight win
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Tim Duncan had 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead the San Antonio Spurs to their fourth straight victory, 100-84 over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.
Tony Parker scored 15 points and Kawhi Leonard added 13 to help the Spurs (19-4) coast comfortably past the Jazz (6-20) after a big first-half run.
Sparked by his 23-point, 21-rebound performance against Atlanta on Dec. 2, Duncan has returned to vintage form after a slow start to the season. The 37-year-old forward is averaging 17 points and 13 rebounds over his last six games.
Trey Burke had 20 points and Gordon Hayward scored 18 for the Jazz, who shot 39 percent from the field.
The Jazz were coming off consecutive road wins, including a 103-93 victory Friday night in Denver. They had reached 100 points in three of the last four games but were no match for San Antonio’s smothering defense.
On the other end, the Spurs set a series of picks to allow penetration and then passes for open 3-pointers. If that failed, they went to their famously fundamental post player on the block. In just 28 minutes, Duncan showed much of his repertoire with bank shots, fallaways, hooks and tip-ins.
San Antonio played its fourth consecutive game without the defensive influence of starting center Tiago Splitter, who has a strained calf. The Spurs, per 100 possessions, score 14 more points than they give up when Splitter is on the floor. But they hardly missed him against the Jazz in the first of a four-game road trip for the Spurs, who are 9-2 away from home
On Nov. 15 in Utah, the Spurs needed a fourth-quarter rally to wipe away a seven-point deficit and win 91-82. Parker scored 14 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter of that one.
After a dreadful start when Burke was out with a broken finger, the Jazz recovered enough to split their last 10 games. The rookie point guard was hot early and gave Parker a taste of his own medicine on a series of floaters and step-back jumpers in the first half.
More than 6 minutes into the game, the Spurs had only six points. But over the remainder of the first half, they used an especially efficient offense to build a 55-40 lead at the break. The reserves, led by Marco Belinelli and Patty Mills, sparked a 21-6 run to help San Antonio gain control.
Belinelli and Manu Ginobili each had 11 points off the San Antonio bench, which contributed 47 points. The Spurs outrebounded the Jazz 55-42 and outscored Utah 50-36 in the paint.
Richard Jefferson made a 3-pointer to draw the Jazz within double digits for the only time in the second half at 61-52, but Duncan scored twice around a 3-pointer by Leonard and the Spurs were back in control.
NOTES: Utah C Rudy Gobert and G Ian Clark were assigned to the club’s D-League affiliate in Bakersfield. Both earned playing time earlier this season when the Jazz were dealing with multiple injuries. … Belinelli made all three of his 3-point attempts to improve his NBA-leading accuracy to 56.5 percent. … Jeremy Evans matched his career high with 11 rebounds for Utah. … Oddly, the Jazz had 11 blocks to one for the Spurs.