Road-weary Jazz finally home to face Spurs
SALT LAKE CITY — Frequent flyer miles are piling up for the Utah Jazz early in the season.
Utah returns home to face the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night after spending the past three weeks crisscrossing the map. The Jazz played 12 games in 11 different cities over the past three weeks. They went 5-5 on the road during that stretch, culminating in a 102-100 loss to Miami on Sunday.
“I’m glad to get home, but we lost tonight and that hurts,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder told the team’s website following the loss to the Heat.
Donovan Mitchell missed a pair of go-ahead shots in the final 22 seconds, misfiring on a layup and then coming up short on a 3-pointer as time expired. It took some luster off some success that Utah has experienced since trading for veteran shooting guard Kyle Korver.
The Jazz are 2-1 since the trade for Korver and have seen a noticeable uptick in their outside shooting with the addition of one of the NBA’s best perimeter threats.
Utah (11-13) is shooting 39.7 percent from the perimeter with Korver in the lineup. He gave the team a big lift in a 119-111 win over Charlotte on Friday, hitting four 3-pointers and totaling 14 points. Korver came back down to Earth a bit against the Heat, though, scoring just three points on 1-of-6 shooting.
Still, he is thrilled to be back in Utah and ready to embrace a role on a team headlined by Mitchell and reigning defensive player of the year Rudy Gobert.
“There’s a lot of potential here, a ton of good players,” Korver told the Jazz website. “You feel like it’s all there. I’m excited to try to do my part.”
San Antonio is hoping it has found its own turnaround spark after beating Portland 131-118 on Sunday. The Spurs suffered back-to-back blowout losses to Houston and Minnesota coming into the game and seemed out of sorts on both ends of the court.
Defense is still a work in progress, but they got back on track offensively against the Trail Blazers. San Antonio shot 60 percent from the field and was a sizzling 11-of-15 from the perimeter. The Spurs also connected on 90.9 percent of their free throws.
It marked just the ninth time an NBA team had a 60/70/90 game and ended up being the first such game in the league since 1995. The onslaught all started with DeMar DeRozan, who finished with 36 points on 13-of-27 shooting.
For San Antonio (11-12), the difference between the blowout losses to the Timberwolves and the Rockets and the win over Portland is a simple matter of execution.
“It’s the same offense we used the last two games,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters after Sunday’s game. “Obviously, we’re still trying to find our way. But, tonight, we did a lot of good things at both ends of the court.”
This is the first meeting between San Antonio and Utah this season. The Jazz won the season series 3-1 a year ago, and claimed victory in both games in Salt Lake City.
Derrick Favors had a series of strong performances to spark those Utah victories. Favors averaged 17.3 points and 7.5 rebounds in 29.8 minutes per contest against San Antonio last season.