AT&T CENTER – Unlike Friday evening, where the San Antonio Spurs found themselves ahead by 15 points after the first quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday’s 122-104 win against the Utah Jazz wasn’t as easy for San Antonio, as head coach Gregg Popovich finally pulled his starters from the game with 2:40 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Behind 21 points from Manu Ginobili, the Spurs shot 62.8% from the floor, a new season high, as seven players finished in double-figures scoring against the Jazz. Here were a few keys to the Spurs’ 10th win in a row, and 15th consecutive 50 win season.
“Offensively we were sharp today.” – Manu Ginobili
Whether they were contested shots or not, the Spurs just continued to shoot a high-percentage on the night. While shooting 62.8% from the floor, the Spurs shot 59.1% on contested shots, and 67.6% on uncontested looks. The ball movement played a key part in the high shooting-percentage, as five players touched the ball 40 or more times. The team accounted for 31 assists, including 10 secondary assists, and two assists that led to free throw attempts. Of the teams 78 total shots, 34 of their looks were uncontested. San Antonio also shot 10-of-16 from 3-point range in the win.
Along with Ginobili scoring in double figures on 8-of-11 shooting, Tony Parker added 18 points and seven assists, Tim Duncan scored 16 points, grabbed six rebounds, and threw six assists, while also blocking two shots. Tiago Splitter scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, both Patty Mills and Marco Belinelli scored 12 points apiece off the bench, and Kawhi Leonard finished with 11 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Of San Antonio’s core players, only Danny Green shot below 50% in the game, going 2-of-5 shooting for five points.
Check out the Spurs’ scorers by quarter (over five points), the numbers show just how dangerous any member from the Spurs’ squad can score quickly in each quarter.
1Q: Duncan 8 points
2Q: Ginobili 9 points, Parker 8 points
3Q: Splitter 7 points, Ginobili 7 points, Mills 6 points
4Q: Splitter 5 points, Leonard 5 points, Belinelli 5 points
“They’re just a good team that keeps moving,” said Jazz forward Derrick Favors after the game. “They never stop (moving the ball).”
“Regardless of personnel, they all pass the basketball,” said Jazz forward Gordon Hayward, “the ball never stops, they hit the open man and defensively, they’re all where they are supposed to be at. So I think that’s a team a lot of teams in the NBA try to emulate.”
“Offensively we were sharp today as we were in the last few games,” said Ginobili after the game.
“Ball movement,” said Parker of the team shooting 63% on the night. “Everybody does a great job of caring about each other and try to get the best shot. Good to great.”
Check out the Spurs’ shot chart on the night below.
“It’s like in the blood in Utah.” – Gregg Popovich on the Jazz’ execution
Though the Spurs would build a double-digit lead, the Jazz would usually find a way to claw back and make it within a six-point margin throughout most of the game. “It’s like in the blood in Utah,” said Popovich of the Jazz’s execution. “It doesn’t matter who is not their team, I think they set picks better than anyone else. They set up their cuts. They get into you and they get physical. I have respected them as you know for a long time. It never changes. They do it for 48 minutes every night. It is just a heck of a culture that they have.”
The key area that makes you think about the Jazz’s physicality was on the boards. Though they didn’t outrebound the Spurs (39 Utah rebounds to 40 Spurs rebounds), they continued to score off second chance points, mainly from their 13 offensive rebounds. The Jazz outscored the Spurs 23-7 in second chance points. Of their 29 offensive rebound chances, Utah grabbed 13 of them. Derrick Favors finished with a career high 28 points, while he also grabbed 10 rebounds, three offensive. Enes Kanter too grabbed 11 rebounds, while six of his were offensive boards as well. The Spurs narrowly outscored the Jazz 56-52 in the paint.
On 15 consecutive 50 win seasons
“Yeah, I don’t really care to be honest with you,” said Popovich of the 50 wins in 15 consecutive seasons. “It’s better than losing 50 I guess, but we are thinking about other things. Records and that sort of thing, streaks, aren’t really on anybody’s mind.”
“That’s great,” said Parker of the milestone. “But we care about championships. Obviously I’m not going to take it for granted. We’re in a great situation and it’s great to win, but the main goal is to win a championship.”
A look into the 10-game winning streak
During their 10-game winning streak, the Spurs are beating teams by an average of 15.3 points per game. The Spurs are scoring 112.6 points, shooting 50.2% from the field, 46.1% from three, collecting 29.6 assists, and only turning the ball over 14.4 times per game. Defensively, they’re holding teams to 97.3 points per game during the streak.
The Spurs are ranked first in Offensive Rating with 114.4 points per 100 possessions and ranked third in Defensive Rating by holding teams to 99.1 points per 100 possessions during the streak. The Los Angeles Clippers are the only team with a longer winning streak at the moment, winning 11 games in a row.
Where San Antonio Stands
· Regular Season: 50-16 (Lead the NBA)
· Home Record: 26-8
· Vs. Opponents with -.500 records: 27-2
· Vs. The Western Conference: 28-10
· Post All-Star Break Record: 12-1 (Lead the NBA)
· 27 of the Spurs’ 50 wins have been by 10 or more points
· The Spurs are 19-0 when Tiago Splitter scores in double-figures.
(All Stats and Player Tracking data via NBA.com)