Al Jefferson scored a game-high 26 points, while Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors posted double-doubles in the losing effort. Millsap scored 10 points to go along with his 19 rebounds, and Favors finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Gordon Hayward, who didn't score, was the only Jazz starter to not finish in double-figure scoring.
Maybe Gregg Popovich knew what he was doing while he was resting his aging 'Big 3' all season. The San Antonio Spurs have a commanding 3-0 lead in their series against the Utah Jazz after Saturday night's win in Salt Lake City, mostly due to the brilliance of Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Parker, in particular, was spectacular and led all scorers in his team's 102-90 win.
The Jazz hung with San Antonio throughout the first half, but their offense dried up as Parker took over in the second half. The Spurs point guard finished the game with 27 points and six assists on 10 of 17 shooting. Duncan was San Antonio's second leading scorer with 17 points. Manu Ginobili didn't take many shots and only finished with six points, but chipped in with an impressive 10 assists.
Utah simply couldn't make shots after the first quarter, and they weren't great from the free throw line either, going just 14 for 26 from the line. Gordon Hayward struggled mightily, shooting 1 for 10 from the field. Al Jefferson was 10 out of 18 from the floor while picking up 21 points and 11 rebounds, but Utah's defense struggled with him on the floor. He finished with a game worst minus-16 net point differential.
After the 17-4 run the San Antonio Spurs put on the Utah Jazz in the first quarter of Game 2 of the two teams' Western Conference quarterfinal series, the rest of the night was somehow less competitive. The Spurs cruised to a 114-83 win in a game that wasn't even as close as the final score indicated.
San Antonio pulled most of its starters at the beginning of the fourth quarter, after rolling up a massive 87-53 lead through three quarters. All five Spurs starters — Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, and Boris Diaw — finished in double figures and posted a plus-minus better than +30 on the night.
The Spurs led by 38 at multiple junctures in the second half, and by at least 24 points for the entirety of it.
Last season, the Spurs cruised to the best record in the Western Conference only to fall to the No. 8-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA postseason. After a 106-91 vs. the Jazz on Sunday, the Spurs look poised to make a deeper playoff run this season.
• One advantage the Jazz have in this series is on the inside. Utah outrebounded the Spurs 45-to-39 and blocked six more shots than San Antonio. Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson combined for 36 points on better than 50 percent shooting. But the Jazz were unable to really exploit San Antonio in the paint enough to make a big difference. Tim Duncan contributed 17 points and 11 boards, so take that!
• Tony Parker, guys! Man, is this guy good. The stats are above, but today was a good example of why this has been Parker's best season as a pro. If you haven't been paying attention, this was a good chance to catch up. Devin Harris, good luck.
• Spurs bench/depth was big in this one. San Antonio got 44 points from their bench, lead by 14 from Manu Ginobili. The Jazz only had three players in double-figures.
Keep up with the latest score updates and highlights from this game with our Jazz vs. Spurs StoryStream. For more fan perspective and analysis about these two teams, check out Spurs blog Pounding the Rock and Jazz blog SLC Dunk.
The San Antonio Spurs will attempt to avoid the same fate that struck a year ago when their first-round series in the 2012 NBA Playoffs begins against the Utah Jazz on Sunday. Last year, the Spurs entered as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference only to be upended by the hot, overachieving Memphis Grizzlies. This year, the Spurs are again No. 1 and again face a hot, overachieving club.
But Manu Ginobili is healthy, and that could be a huge difference.
Here's the series schedule as released by the NBA.
Game 1 - Sun., April 29 at San Antonio, 1 p.m., ESPN Game 2 - Wed., May 2 at San Antonio, 7 p.m., TNT Game 3 - Sat., May 5 at Utah, 10 p.m., TNT Game 4 - Mon., May 7 at Utah, TBD Game 5 - Wed., May 9 at San Antonio Game 6 - Fri., May 11 at Utah Game 7 - Sun., May 13 at San Antonio