Jazz Lose Thriller to Unreal San Antonio Squad, 88-86

April 5th, 2016 | by Angie Treasure
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

The Utah Jazz lost a heartbreaker Tuesday night to the cyborgian San Antonio Spurs 88-86, the home team’s first loss of the season when holding a team below 90 points in a game.1

We Have to Talk About the Spurs

The Spurs are great. The Golden Gate Bridge-sized shadow of the Warriors may have made everyone lose sight of how good they are, but the San Antonio squad just won a franchise-best 65th game, handing ageless Timmy Duncan his 1,000th career win. The Spurs haven’t lost a home game yet this season. The Spurs players probably never accidentally bite the inside of their lip when they’re chewing their food.

Here’s a bit what it’s like to play the Spurs:

And the Jazz put up a great fight in regulation behind Rodney Hood’s stellar line of 23/7/4 making him the game’s leading scorer and with a team-best +/- of 11. The three ball — which had been “Homeward Bound”2 levels of missing in the first three quarters — fell in the fourth when the Jazz went 5/6 from deep, sparked by Joe Ingles’ tenacious play.

Staying. Aggressive. Stay-aying Aggressive.

Part of what kept the Jazz in the game were free throws. The Spurs are the league-leader when it comes to keeping opponents from the charity stripe allowing just 17.6 attempts per game. In the sloggy third quarter, the Jazz got to the line 13 times. Over the course of the game, they made 17/21 of their freebies. When the three ball wasn’t falling — and while waiting for the law of averages to manifest itself — the Jazz battled their way into the paint. When they weren’t getting foul calls, they were scoring inside, racking up 36 paint points to the Spurs’ 26.

On the team’s energy, Coach Snyder said, “I thought we really competed in a game where we really didn’t shoot well for a while. Joe came in and gave us a huge lift. I thought our defense helped us stay in it until we could hit a few shots.”

Basketball Cliché 101: ‘A game of runs’

The Jazz ended three quarters down a seemingly-mammoth 14 points to the Texas team but battled back with 33 points in the fourth to make it a real nail biter.3

Coach Popovich gave the Jazz a lot of credit after the game for staying with it and giving the Spurs a run for their money.4

“… They played with a lot of energy,” he said. “They’re very aggressive. I thought they moved the ball much better than we did. We were very lucky to win. They actually played better basketball tonight than we did.”

As an aside, Pop was also very complimentary of Quin pregame — a common thread for anyone who’s worked with Q during his stops in Atlanta, LA etc. I will give someone a cookie if they turn this quote in to an illustration:

“… he’s smarter than the rest of us. That boy is like a bubble machine. He’s like a cartoon with little bubbles coming out of his head with ideas about lots of different stuff. I’m serious, and some of it I understood and some of it I didn’t. Great guy, great friend and guy to be around who is intelligent but isn’t full of himself and enjoys people. He was wonderful when he was with us.”

Do we feel better yet?

Okay, here are some more wins, if you are an eternal optimist like me and have more fun finding growth than dwelling on failings.5

The Jazz survived some gigantic Spurs runs, including a 17-2 spurt that lasted form the end of the first quarter into the second. The Jazz were down 16 at one point, which may as well be 30 to a team with as stingy of defense as the Spurs. The Jazz stayed calm and kept executing offensively and defensively. That’s growth.

The Jazz also limited the Spurs’ individual players’ production with no player scoring over 18. Superstar Kawhi Leonard made no three-pointers and ended the game as a -18. LMA had 10 points in the first quarter and only four more the rest of the game. Tim Duncan played 36 minutes and only got three points. Surprisingly, Kyle Anderson lead both teams in +/- as a +21. If you’re going to make Kyle Anderson be the one to beat you, so be it.6

IDK, here are some nice, shiny plays to watch:

An ATO play leads to a Rodney dunk to tie it – – – >

Rudy gets a big block on fellow Frenchman Tony Parker in crunch time – – – >

Fast break and stuff! – – – >

G-Time dunk! – – – >

The Jazz host the Clippers Friday in a game that will be important to win so as not to fall out of the playoff race. Lots of scoreboard watching to come. Lots of sports-induced stress. Lots of listening to Drake to try and mellow out.7

Angie Treasure

Angie Treasure went from talking about Gordon Hayward’s #dadcalves on the internet to being the Salt City Hoops beat writer. You’re all culpable. Bother her on Twitter: @snark_tank.

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