It’s always a little scary facing a team like the Utah Jazz after a four-day break. The Spurs probably lost when they boarded the plane for Salt Lake City, which was about all the boarding they did that day.
The rustiness that comes after an early, extended break showed up immediately as the Jazz went up early after several runs in the first quarter and never looked back in a 113-99 win.
Sloppy play, turnovers and terrible defense could normally sum up the night. Unfortunately for the Spurs, it was much worse. Here are a few of my notes throughout each quarter.
Jefferson started the game on the right foot, hitting a three for the first points of the night for either team. Bonner continued the outside assault tying the game at 8-8, but sloppy play and points off turnovers led to a 26-15 Jazz run.
Of all the players that made the Spurs look old in the first quarter, it wasn’t Deron Williams or Carlos Boozer, but insted Wesley Matthews. I’m asking “who?” as well.
The Jazz ended the quarter up 32-22.
The Spurs’ interior defense looks like swiss cheese, as one live blog participant quipped. The Jazz guards were too quick and got to the basket easily for 28 points in the paint.
Parker started coming alive and hurt the Jazz with his own drives to the rim, racking up 17 first half points. Unfortunately, they didn’t continue running plays for Parker or setting up screens for him to get into the paint.
A Manu layup could have shaved the deficit down to seven points, but instead he gets picked clean going to the basket for a second time.
The second quarter really was just about the same as the first, with the Spurs turning the ball over six times, leading to 10 Jazz points. Spurs go into the half down 50-60.
Spurs start to show some signs of life, with a Richard Jefferson layup to get the deficit down to eight points. Jefferson looked aggressive, but poor rebounding on both ends attributed to the Jazz getting several second chance points to go with seven steals.
Saying Boozer was “on” would be an understatement. He was killing anyone Pop threw at him and Deron Williams really was no surprise as he orchestrated the Jazz offense beautifully.
The Jazz really didn’t budge all quarter, playing great defense and getting through any mini-runs by the Spurs to go up 93-80 to end the third.
There are hints of a comeback, but the Jazz once again step up their defense and the Spurs just can’t seem to climb out of the hole they’ve dug themselves into. More of the same as turnovers continue to plague the Spurs and they start missing easy layups.
DeJuan Blair entered the game late in the half and looked good on the boards and even on offense with Boozer guarding him, but it was too little too late.
I have to give credit to the Jazz as they were executing to perfection all night and sent the Spurs back to earth as they are now at .500 through four games.
Looking at the box score, five Spurs were in double figures and several players had good individual games, but as a unit, it looks like they have a lot of work to do. It won’t get easier though, as they have another tough conference foe tonight in the Portland Trailblazers.
If I were to give out a Shiny and Rusty Spur like Jeff Garcia does on each Spurscast, while I’d have a hard time giving the shiny award away on a night like this, I’d have to give it to DeJuan Blair who had 14 points, nine rebounds and a block in just 21 minutes. I’m not sure how much more Pop has to see before he starts increasing Blair’s minutes and allows him to give the Spurs a chance to win games like this.
The Rusty Spur would go to George Hill, who missed countless layups and shot one of eight from the field for two points and one assist in 22 minutes.
Again, the Spurs play the Blazers tonight and be sure to come back and listen live to our Blazers pregame show, starting at 7:30 p.m. CST. We’ll also be coming back live once the game ends for about an hour or so of postgame react and wrapup. We’ll be taking your calls, interviewing fellow Bloguin blogger Sheed from Bust-a-Bucket, giving away a poster to a calller and previewing the game.