Poor first half hurts Spurs in Utah: Three Standout Players

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Photo courtsey: Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs had six players in double figures, but it was not enough as they fell 100-89 to the Utah Jazz at Vivint Home Smart Arena on Thursday night.

The game was the second of a three game trip for the Silver and Black, who narrowly beat the Portland Trail Blazers just 24 hours earlier. San Antonio struggled in the first half as they scored just 17 points in the first quarter and 38 points in the half.

San Antonio had no answer defensively for Utah guard Rodney Hood, who finished with a game-high 29 points and went 12-for-24 from the floor.

Here is what went good and bad for the Spurs, as well as three standout players: Tony Parker, Kyle Anderson, and Joffrey Lauvergne.

The Good:

  • For the first time since returning from a quad injury that kept him out 27 games, Kawhi Leonard saw an increase in minutes. Leonard played 20 minutes and finished with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting.
  • Joffrey Lauvergne made his first start in a Spurs uniform and played solid. More on that in a moment.
  • Tony Parker and Kyle Anderson seem to be recovering nicely from their injuries.

The Bad:

  • San Antonio struggled to start the game, getting back into old habits. The Spurs were up against a Utah club without defensive anchor Rudy Golbert and Dante Exum. This was a very winnable game.
  • Rudy Gay struggled as he scored just five points on 2-of-8 shooting. With Leonard getting back into the fold, the Silver and Black will need Rudy to be the Rudy of old as the team gets back into their rotations.
  • The Spurs had 14 turnovers in the game, making it difficult to win a game on the road. In their first two games of the trip against both Portland and Utah, San Antonio has committed a total of 36 turnovers.
  • You knew LaMarcus Aldridge wouldn’t shoot well in all 82 games and it finally came in Utah. Aldridge had an off night, scoring just 11 points and shooting 4-for-11.

Three Standout Players:

    Tony Parker: For the first time since returning from injury, Tony Parker looked like his old self. He finished with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting, with seven coming in the second half.

Parker showed flashes of his old self as his jump shot was working in the second half. He weaved in and out of the paint and even did a nice spin move on Utah big man Ekpe Udoh. Despite the shot being blocked, Parker even being able to pull off the move shows just how far he has come.

This has to be the best game he has played since his return and possibly an even better sign that he is on the road to being fully recovered in a few more weeks.

    Kyle Anderson: The former UCLA Bruin also had a solid game for the Spurs, particularly showing why Coach Pop has placed so much trust in him. Anderson may have only had six points on 3-of-5 shooting, but it is other stats and the little things that made him stand out in Utah.

Anderson also had an assist and two rebounds. However, Pop let Anderson run the offense and get players into position. He showed no fear and was calm as the Silver and Black trimmed a 13 point deficit down to just two in the final moments of the third. It is easy to see the high basketball IQ Anderson has and why Pop has become so fond of him. It will only make the Spurs much more dangerous as the season rolls into the new year.

Joffrey Lauvergne: With Pau Gasol out with a groin injury, Joffrey Lauvergne got his first start in a Spurs uniform. It is safe to say, he has really showed what we can do on this road trip. Lauvergne finished with 11 points and six rebounds on the night.

However, what made him stand out is what type of player we expect him to be.. he is. Lauvergne banged down low with Utah center Derrick Favors and remained aggressive on the glass and was active in the post. He reminds me of a younger and quicker version of David Lee. I hope that his play in these last two games will earn him some more playing time as the season goes on.

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