Spurs Play Sweet Music, Jazz Out
Written by Randy Watson
Most people probably would have understood if San Antonio came out flat against the younger, rested Utah Jazz. Others probably would have even understood if the Spurs had dropped Game 1 in the series, seeing how they had to fight, claw, and battle so hard against the Suns. But neither of those things happened Sunday afternoon.
San Antonio, playing just 39 hours after finishing the Phoenix Suns in a heated 6 game series, came out on fire and by halftime against the youngsters from Utah, had managed to build a 19 point lead. The lead would last into the fourth period, when fatigue may have caught up with the Spurs. Utah finally got hot, and managed to cut the lead to 7 in the closing minutes, but they couldn't overcome the huge lead, finally losing 108-100.
San Antonio's Big 3 of Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker, all had stellar games. Duncan scored 27 points, had 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Manu, who has gotten hot recently after getting off to a terrible start in the playoffs, scored 23 points and dished out 10 assists. Tony Parker went for 21 points and had 6 assists. Although Robert Horry failed to score, he did receive two loud ovations from the San Antonio crowd when he entered the game after completing his 2 game suspension.
Deron Williams had the line of the night for both teams, scoring (a career high) 34 points, along with 9 assists and 7 rebounds.
Manu was certainly the spark that allowed San Antonio to build its big leads. His manic energy spurred two first half Spurs’ streaks of 10-0, and 13-2, and San Antonio shot 66% in the first half. Although Utah managed to come back in the final period, San Antonio’s missing 9 free throws towards the end of the game allowed the score to be closer than it probably should have been. Also, if there is any nits to be picked for San Antonio, the fact that they were out-rebounded 30-14, and out-shot 53-44% in the second half should get the attention of the coaches.
Still, at the end of the day, the Spurs dominated all but the last few minutes, and managed to avoid losing a game which could have cost them home-court advantage. With Game 1 in the books, the Spurs can get some much-needed rest before Tuesday night’s tussled with the Jazz. Game 2 is scheduled for 8 PM, Tuesday night.