Utah Jazz: Spurs are able to overcome slow start
The San Antonio Spurs didn't bring their "A" game to EnergySolutions Arena on Friday night.
They were good enough, however, to rally for a 91-82 victory over the Jazz.
Tony Parker scored 22 points and the Spurs' bench outscored Utah's non-starters, 35-11, as San Antonio rolled to its ninth win in 10 games this season.
Boris Diaw added 17 points for the Spurs, who trailed by as many as 12 points in the third quarter. It was still 67-60 before San Antonio outscored Utah, 31-15, in the final 12 minutes.
Asked if his team's experience played a major role in the victory, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, "Probably a little bit."
In the fourth quarter, San Antonio reversed a game-long trend and out-rebounded the Jazz, 15-7. Six different Spurs finished with at least five rebounds.
Said Popovich: "What was good to see is the work Utah did on the boards and how we have to be a one-through-five team in those situations. Really, that's what kept them in the game the boards, the offensive boards. ... So it's a good lesson for us to know there is no stopping [anyone] until you rebound."
Tim Duncan finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. After going 1-for-12 in a win over Washington on Wednesday, he was 7-for-16 against Utah.
"It took a little longer to get there, [but] we ground it out and found a way to get the tides turned," Duncan said. "They played well. They played hard, like we knew they would. I'm just glad to get the win."
Referring to the Spurs' improved rebounding in the fourth quarter, Duncan said, "With their obvious size and athleticism, they are tough one of the best in the league at hitting the offensive glass. It was a focus for us. We didn't do the greatest job at it. But toward the end we cleaned it up and it made the difference."
Manu Ginobili, who had nine points, nine rebounds and five assists, agreed.
"We brought a little more energy in the second half," he said. "Terrible first quarter. They outworked us and outplayed us. But we slowly started to bring it ... [and] once we tied the game we knew at that point we were in a good situation."