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Despite energy, the Jazz still lose to San Antonio Spurs

Published March 23, 2013 11:11 am

Utah goes toe-to-toe with West's best team, but loses its eighth straight road game.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

San Antonio • Al Jefferson stood just beyond the 3-point line and raised his arms like a grandfather about to be tackled by loving heirs. Twenty-five feet in front of him, a glowing red light rimmed the backboard.

It was a picture, and a truly hopeful moment for a Utah Jazz team that, before Friday, seemingly forgot how to have them.

A 3-pointer dropped through the image, slashing the stillness. A corner jump shot could have defined one Jazz player's tenure with the team. It might have saved a season.

Marvin Williams made a 3-pointer at the end of regulation against the best team in the West. But the biggest shot of his first season with the Jazz ultimately only extended their latest crushing defeat. Indivcative of a crumbling season, the Jazz lost 104-97 to the San Antonio Spurs in overtime.

"It's fun if it would have been [the end of the] game," Jefferson said. "When he hit that shot, we knew we had another five minutes to fight."

The Jazz (34-35) had fought. For 48 minutes, they turned in their best performance in a month, but the result was their 11th loss in their last 14 games and their eighth straight defeat on the road.

But against a Spurs team that has only lost four times this season at home, the Jazz showed something.

"If we continue to play the way we played tonight for the rest of these 12 games," Jefferson said, "I still think we have a great chance."

The Jazz remain 1 ½ games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for eighth in the West after L.A. lost to the Washington Wizards on Friday at Staples Center.

"Anything can happen," Gordon Hayward said. "I definitely still believe, but we can't keep taking [losses], that is for sure."

Mo Williams led the Jazz with 23 points and eight assists, while Jefferson added 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Tim Duncan led San Antonio with 19 points and 16 rebounds as Spurs coach Gregg Popovich became the 12th coach to win 900 games.

After falling behind 14-4 in the first quarter, the Jazz closed the period on a 17-2 run thanks, in part, to a four-block performance by Derrick Favors. They led through the second quarter, were tied twice in third and were eclipsed only in the fourth.

In overtime, though, they ran out of steam.

Mo Williams made a 3-pointer with 3:16 left to tie the game at 95, but the Jazz sputtered. They didn't score another field goal and were outscored 9-2 the rest of the way.

A season has turned into a sympathy tour. When the year ends, with or without the playoffs, players will scatter and some won't come back. Free agency guarantees that.

Where are they emotionally? Mentally? Earlier Friday, coach Tyrone Corbin said he feared free agency had played a role in his team's late-season malaise. Even in a loss, the Jazz told those questions to take a break.

"You feel sorry for yourself," Corbin said, "but at some point you've got to step up and just fight. I thought we showed a lot of that tonight."

After recent games, Corbin had directed pointed comments at his team. Effort was suspect. Defense, too. On Friday, those were the very things that kept the Jazz in the game.

"If we play this way every night against everybody," Corbin said. "We'll be OK. That's what we're looking for to get the effort."

The Jazz opened up a 10-point lead in the second quarter, but were outscored 9-2 in the final 3:41 before halftime.

Each time the Spurs made a run, though, the Jazz had an answer. In the third quarter, the Spurs tied the game at 49, but Jefferson answered with a jump shot. The score was once again knotted at 60 after a Boris Diaw layup, but Alec Burks made a jumper on the following possession.

The Spurs took their first lead of the second half on a basket by Kawhi Leonard with 10:04 remaining, and the Jazz answered with back-to-back steals that led to dunks by Favors and Burks.

The Jazz have not won on the road since Feb. 13, a stretch of eight games. They have gone from five games up on the Lakers for the eighth seed in the West, to trailing now by multiple games.

"The way we played since the All-Star break on the road hadn't really been us," Marvin Williams said.

The Jazz of Friday night, they hope, will be. —

Highlights

O The Jazz lose their eighth straight road game. They haven't won away from home since Feb. 13.

• Tim Duncan leads the Spurs with 19 points and 16 rebounds as Gregg Popovich earns his 900th career win. Spurs 104, Jazz 97

OVERTIME

FG FT Reb

Utah Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Hayward 34:20 2-10 0-0 0-6 5 3 5

Millsap 34:05 5-13 1-2 2-6 2 5 11

Jefferson 41:42 9-23 0-0 3-13 2 4 18

M Wllms 40:55 9-17 3-5 0-1 8 5 23

Foye 27:36 3-5 0-0 0-1 5 1 8

Favors 19:03 3-6 0-1 0-8 0 4 6

MaWlms 34:38 4-9 0-0 3-9 1 2 9

Kanter 11:11 0-4 3-4 2-3 0 1 3

Burks 21:31 6-9 0-0 1-1 0 2 14

Totals 265:00 41-96 7-12 11-48 23 27 97

Percentages: FG .427, FT .583. 3-Point Goals: 8-17, .471 (Burks 2-3, Foye 2-3, M. Williams 2-4, Hayward 1-2, Ma.Williams 1-4, Millsap 0-1). Team Rebounds: 10. Team Turnovers: 17 (22 PTS). Blocked Shots: 9 (Favors 4, Jefferson 2, Millsap 2, Hayward). Turnovers: 16 (Favors 4, Hayward 3, M. Williams 3, Jefferson 2, Burks, Kanter, Millsap, Ma.Williams). Steals: 11 (Jefferson 3, M. Williams 3, Millsap 2, Favors, Kanter, Ma.Williams). Technical Fouls: None.

FG FT Reb

S.A. Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Leonard 42:35 9-14 0-0 3-8 0 0 21

Duncan 37:12 4-13 11-13 1-16 5 2 19

Splitter 32:45 2-9 1-3 3-10 3 4 5

Parker 36:50 8-13 6-8 0-2 5 2 22

Green 34:13 6-9 0-0 0-1 2 0 15

Joseph 4:43 1-4 0-0 0-1 0 0 2

Ginobili 27:46 2-9 0-0 0-4 1 2 5

Diaw 18:53 3-5 0-0 0-1 1 1 6

Blair 4:53 1-1 0-0 1-2 0 3 2

Jackson 7:35 0-3 0-0 0-0 2 1 0

De Colo 8:44 1-2 0-0 0-1 3 1 2

Bonner 8:51 2-2 0-0 0-0 1 1 5

Totals 265:00 39-84 18-24 8-46 23 17 104

Percentages: FG .464, FT .750. 3-Point Goals: 8-20, .400 (Leonard 3-4, Green 3-6, Bonner 1-1, Ginobili 1-5, Diaw 0-1, Joseph 0-1, Jackson 0-2). Team Rebounds: 7. Team Turnovers: 18 (21 PTS). Blocked Shots: 10 (Splitter 4, Duncan 2, Leonard 2, Bonner, Green). Turnovers: 17 (Ginobili 5, Parker 3, Splitter 3, Duncan 2, Leonard 2, Blair, De Colo). Steals: 8 (Jackson 3, Ginobili 2, Leonard 2, De Colo). Technical Fouls: Blair, 9:55 second.

Utah 21 20 24 25 7 — 97

San Antonio 18 20 25 27 14 — 104

Attendance • 18,581

Time • 2:21.

Officials • Monty McCutchen, JT Orr, Michael Smith.