San Antonio • Contain Tony Parker and the Jazz have a chance.
Devin Harris said it’s that simple. So did Al Jefferson. And Utah coach Tyrone Corbin.
After watching Parker turn into a Jazz killer Sunday during the Spurs’ 106-91 Game 1 victory, Utah will return to Salt Lake City with “Contain Parker” at the top of its to-do list.
The 11-year veteran easily shredded the Jazz’s pick-and-roll and paint defense, scoring a game-high 28 points on 10-of-19 shooting, hitting 8 of 10 free throws and dishing out a game-high eight assists.
He was on point from the start, was rarely threatened by Harris or Utah’s bigs, and looked every bit like that fine-tuned floor leader who guided the Spurs to the No. 1 playoff seed in the Western Conference and a tie for the best overall regular-season record (50-16) in the NBA.
“He split a lot of pick-and-rolls and was able to get into the paint, make plays, get to the free-throw line and do what he does well,” said Harris, who scored just seven points and distributed two assists.
Parker only improved as the game rolled on, and he poured in eight points on 3-of-4 shooting during the fourth quarter.
By the time Utah walked off the court starry-eyed, all the Jazz could do was discuss Parker. Stop him and they can steal the series. Simply contain him, and Utah will likely play more than four games.
“He’s a great player. Like I said before the series started, it’s not on Devin or Jamaal [Tinsley]. We all got to help contain him,” Jefferson said. “He so quick coming off the pick-and-roll and he get guys involved. He made some passes [in the game], he didn’t look — he just knew his teammates were going to be there in a certain spot. We can’t let him beat us and get everyone else involved. It’s going to be a long series if we do that.”
Tony Parker in Game 1
FG FT Reb Ast Pts
10-19 8-10 4 8 28
Note: Parker’s made and attempted field goals, assists and points were game highs.