Surging Jazz visit Spurs
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The Utah Jazz have just about everything going their way as they travel to San Antonio on Saturday to face the Spurs at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.
Utah (21-28) heads to the Alamo City on the heels of a 129-97 win at Phoenix on Friday and an overnight flight to South Texas for the second game of a back-to-back. The Jazz carry a four-game win streak into the game that included a decisive victory at home on Tuesday against defending NBA champ Golden State. Utah's victory Friday was the third in a row on the road.
Donovan Mitchell scored 40 points on 14 of 19 shooting including 7 of 9 from 3-point range to lead the Jazz, who shot 56.7 percent in the game. Joe Ingles added 16, Ricky Rubio scored 14 points, Joe Johnson and Derrick Favors hit for 12 each and Rudy Gobert pumped in 10 for Utah in the win.
The Jazz led 62-39 at the half and never looked back.
"Shooting is an equalizer," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said after the win over the Warriors. "You aren't able to beat those guys if you don't shoot it well. We haven't been able to beat them, and it's because they're that good."
Snyder said there are things the Jazz can take with them from the win against Golden State on a four-game road trip that began last night.
"You want to move on from it in the sense that there's some sense of accomplishment: It's over," Snyder said. "We need to understand the things that we did that we want to do again. It becomes a question of repeating it. The more you do it, the more it becomes who you are. Games like that can give you some confidence."
Saturday's contest versus Utah will be the final of a five-game homestand for the Spurs and the last game before San Antonio hits the road for its annual rodeo road trip that will see the team play six games away from home from Feb. 7-28.
San Antonio has won four of its past six contests but lost Thursday at home to Lone Star State rival Houston 102-91. In that defeat, the Spurs trailed by 16 points after the first quarter and got to within six points several times in the final six minutes before succumbing to the Rockets for the second time in two meetings this season.
The Spurs (34-20) got 22 points from Danny Green, 16 from LaMarcus Aldridge and 11 points from Bryn Forbes in the loss. San Antonio had 16 turnovers to just nine for Houston and countered the Rockets with a 48-30 advantage in points in the paint but didn't make the plays, especially on defense, that it needed to win the game.
After trailing 54-38 at the half, the Spurs outscored Houston 53-48 in the second half.
"We got better in the game," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "(Our guys) did a good job to move the ball and understand that ball movement allows us to penetrate better and break down the defense because we can't do that on the dribble.
"There's got to be good passes and then a tight closeout, that sort of thing. A lot of the guys are starting to figure that out, and I was real pleased with it in the second half."
Utah leads the season series with the Spurs 1-0 after a 100-89 win on Dec. 21 in Salt Lake City. San Antonio owns the all-time series between the two teams 103-79 but the Jazz have won the past two games, both in Salt Lake City. The Spurs have won 70 of the 91 games played against Utah in San Antonio.
Updated February 3, 2018