San Antonio • Huge deficits, suspect 3-point defense, Tim Duncan, Danny Green, Tony Parker. A loss.
Yes, the Utah Jazz remember the Alamo City.
Six months removed from being swept out of the playoffs by the Spurs, the Jazz found themselves in an all-too-familiar position Saturday, trailing by as many as 19 points in the first half against those same Spurs. The twist this time was that the Jazz found it within themselves to rally before falling 110-100 in front of 18,581 at AT&T Center.
“It’s going to click one day,” said Mo Williams, who led the Jazz with 29 points, “and sooner rather than later.”
But the question for the Jazz (1-2) right now has to be whether it will click quickly enough that the month of November, with nine remaining games on the road, won’t turn into a complete nightmare.
The Jazz have lost 11 of their last 12 games against the Spurs, including a 1-7 record last year, counting the playoffs.
“You’ve got to understand that whatever happened has happened in the past,” coach Tyrone Corbin said.
But the present is reflecting that which came before it. Parker led the Spurs with 24 points and 10 assists, while Green made three 3-pointers in the first half and finished 21 points. Duncan added 19 points, including seven in the fourth quarter.
The Jazz will now head to Memphis coming off back-to-back losses, including Friday’s defeat in New Orleans. The only thing adding much intrigue to the Jazz’s game Saturday was a third-quarter flurry by Williams and two minutes of defense by the Jazz that allowed them to tie the game at 79 at the end of the quarter, after trailing 79-66 with 2:05 remaining.
“I thought we dug down deep,” Williams said. “We showed a lot of resilience, which was great to see and great to feel out there with my teammates, that we’re not going down out there without a fight.”
The Spurs shot 74.3 percent from the field in the first half, outracing the Jazz to a 62-44 halftime lead. It looked like any one of the Jazz’s blowout losses in last year’s playoffs.
“You can’t lay down and just let them do what they want to do to you,” Corbin lamented. “You’ve got to come out and make them work and, who knows, see what happens. You’ve got to believe you can beat them.”
Given recent history, it’s no wonder that some are beginning to doubt that.
However, Williams, acquired by the Jazz in an offseason trade, is largely unfamiliar with the Jazz’s history in San Antonio and had his best game in his brief second stint with the Jazz. His 29 points came on 9-of-13 shooting, and he made each of his nine free-throw attempts, recorded nine assists and turned the ball over only twice.
However, the Jazz couldn’t keep up in the fourth quarter. The Spurs did not commit any turnovers in the fourth after giving the ball away eight times in third quarter — five times on Jazz steals.
“It’s something where we were scoring pretty decently,” Gordon Hayward said, “but we weren’t getting stops on the other end.”
Hayward made a 3-pointer with 3:36 remaining that would have cut the Spurs’ lead to 99-97, but it was waved off due to a three-seconds violation by Paul Millsap.
It proved to be the final good chance for the Jazz, who were outscored 11-3 the rest of the way.
Storylines Spurs 110, Jazz 100
R The Jazz lose their 11th game in their last 12 tries against San Antonio.
• Utah has not won in San Antonio since Jan. 20, 2010.
• Mo Williams scores a season-high 29 points, including 15 in the third quarter to help erase a double-digit Spurs lead.