Spurs beat Jazz 122-104 for 10th straight win
SAN ANTONIO (AP) Manu Ginobili and the San Antonio Spurs put together a dominant offensive performance on Sunday night.
The final result was a 10-game winning streak and another year with 50 victories.
Ginobili scored 21 points and Tony Parker had 18, leading the Spurs to a 122-104 victory over the Utah Jazz.
San Antonio (50-16) became the first NBA team to reach 50 wins, extending its league record of consecutive seasons with at least that many victories to 15. Not that it means all that much to the veteran Spurs, who are focused on winning another title.
”I don’t really care,” coach Gregg Popovich said. ”You all have to have things to write about, I guess. It’s better than losing 50, I guess. We’re thinking about other things and we’ve just had a great group of guys for a long time. That’s reason we’ve been able to win. Records and that sort of thing, streaks aren’t really on anybody’s mind.”
The Spurs (50-16) shot a season-high 62.8 percent from the field while improving to 4-0 against the last-place Jazz (22-45) this season.
”You give them the credit,” Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. ”They are a great ballclub. They know who they are. They take the right shots. They had 31 assists, so the ball moved around very well. The guys who came off (the bench), they made tough shots. Our guys competed, they are just better at what they do at this stage. You just have to give them a lot of credit.”
Derrick Favors had a career-high 28 points for the Jazz, who have lost four straight. Gordon Hayward scored 17 and Trey Burke had 13 points.
Parker also had seven assists and Tim Duncan added 16 points and six rebounds for the Spurs. Along with Ginobili, the team’s Big Three combined to shoot 22 for 32.
”We’re getting our rhythm,” Parker said. ”Manu looks good, he looks healthy. Timmy, his outside shot is coming around. We’re all doing little stuff. Now we all just to have to stay healthy.”
It’s the second double-digit winning streak of the Spurs, who won 11 in a row in November.
”We’re in a great situation and it’s great to win (50 games), but the main goal is to win a championship,” Parker said.
The Spurs featured their inside game early on, and then went to their sharp outside shooting. Tiago Splitter had 14 points and 10 rebounds, Patty Mills and Marco Belinelli each scored 12 and Kawhi Leonard had 11 points.
San Antonio was shooting 65 percent from the field with 6 minutes left, holding a 108-90 lead following dunks by Splitter and Belinelli and jumpers from Leonard and Duncan.
”Regardless of personnel, they all pass the basketball, the ball never stops,” Hayward said. ”They hit the open man and defensively they’re all where they’re supposed to be at.”
San Antonio’s initial 12 points came in the paint, as well as 14 of its first 15. It finished with 56 points in the paint, compared to 52 for Utah.
The Spurs had assists on five of their first six baskets, punctuated by a running dunk by Leonard off a feed from Danny Green for a 12-6 lead with 7 minutes left in the first quarter.
”Offensively we were sharp today as we were in the last few games,” Ginobili said. ”We were not as good defensively today. We made too many mistakes. We let them score a lot of points in the paint. We knew they were going to do that. But overall, I think we can’t complain. It was a good game.”
After falling behind 15-8, the front court of Favors, Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams rallied Utah for its only lead of the game. The trio scored nine points in a 13-4 run, capped by a 13-foot turnaround jumper by Favors that put the Jazz ahead 21-19 with 1:43 remaining in the first quarter.
”This was a great night for me,” Favors said. ”My teammates did a good job of finding me in the post and in my spots, and I was hitting shots. Just one of those nights for me.”
After finding so much inside the paint early, the Spurs turned to their long-range shooting in the second quarter. San Antonio had five different players make a 3 while making all of their long-distance attempts in the second.
Green’s 3 from 26 feet gave the Spurs its largest lead of that half at 54-45 with 2 minutes remaining.
”The first half we did a relatively good job up until the last four or five minutes of the half of keep them off the 3-point line,” Corbin said. ”But they had 30 points or so in the paint. So, we wanted to make an effort to try and keep them out of the paint, and we gave up 3-point shots. They made five right there and they just took off from there.”
NOTES: San Antonio’s previous shooting high was 57.5 percent in a 126-96 victory over Cleveland on Nov. 23. … The Spurs won 11 straight from Nov. 5 through Nov. 25, giving them a 13-1 record to open the season. … Jazz G John Lucas III (sprained right ankle) was in uniform, but did not play after being listed as a game-time decision. … Jefferson, a former Spurs player, was resoundingly booed during pregame introductions.