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article imageNBA: Spurs hand Jazz sixth straight loss in tough battle, 112-105

By Lynn Herrmann     Jan 27, 2011 in Sports
Salt Lake City - The San Antonio Spurs wrapped up a three-game road trip against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City Wednesday night in a hard-fought game not decided until the final seconds in which the the Spurs prevailed, 112-105, improving their record to 39-7.
The Jazz came into the game losing five straight and were playing the second of a back-to-back set after receiving a thumping against the Lakers, 120-91, in Los Angeles the night before. The had not had a six-game losing streak since December 2007.
Point guard Deron Williams, commenting on Utah’s recent woes, said: “We’ve lacked chemistry and continuity on offense and on defense and we’re not trusting each other,” reports.
Utah’s five-game skid included losses at Washington and New Jersey, last-place teams in the league’s Eastern Conference. “We couldn’t execute and we couldn’t get stops against teams with the worst records in the NBA, and coming in to play one of the better teams in the league, it got ugly,” Williams added, referring to the loss against the Lakers.
Tony Parker started the game strong, leading the Spurs early with eight of the team’s first 17 points, but much of the first quarter saw the two teams playing within a point or two of each other.
Williams, fourth in the NBA in assists with a 9.4 per game average, brought the Jazz within one, 19-18, on a pair of free throws
With three seconds left in the first,Gary Neal hit two free throws after a foul call on Williams and the Spurs went into the second quarter with a 29-25 lead.
Manu Ginobili coast-to-coast layup put the Spurs on a 9-0 run and 38-29, their largest lead of the game after another Neal jumper, and Jazz coach Jerry Sloan called a timeout.
Neal continued torching the Jazz in the first half, with 13 points off the bench in six minutes of play. The Spurs’ run increased to 17-0, giving them a 46-29 lead on a George Hill three.
An Al Jefferson slam brought the Jazz within 46-35, but the Spurs were capitalizing on Utah’s road-weary legs. San Antonio kept its up-tempo game going and combined with crisp ball movement went into intermission with a 58-49 lead.
Both teams shot 56 percent in the first half, led by Utah’s Jefferson with 16 points and Williams with 10.
In the half, the Spurs’ Parker scored 14 points on seven of nine shooting, followed by Neal’s 13 points.
Midway through the third Manu Ginobili nailed a three to put the Spurs up 71-58. A Richard Jefferson three followed and San Antonio was on a 10-0 run with the score 86-67, their largest lead of the game.
Utah then went on a 9-0 run, closing within 10, 86-76, on a C.J. Miles three. Despite 13 turnovers through three quarters, the Jazz ended the third on an 11-2 run and trailed the Spurs 88-78 going into the fourth, setting the stage for an intense battle.
Williams stayed in attack mode for the Jazz, helping keep them in the game. After hitting one of two free throws near the 10:00 mark, the Spurs lead was down to seven.
Earl Watson hit one of two free throws at 5:27 to cut the Spurs lead to six, but Richard Jefferson hit a three on the Spurs next possession, stretching the lead back to nine.
Duncan followed a huge block on Al Jefferson with less than four minutes to go and hit one of two free throws on the Spurs possession, giving them a 10-point lead.
With 56 seconds left in the game and the score 107-101 in favor of the Spurs, Utah needed production but Williams 11 of 14 shooting in the second half was all the Jazz had. Playing catch-up ball since the Spurs 17-0 run in the second quarter made their one-dimensional attack vulnerable.
Miles‘ reverse layup made it a 107-103 game with 30 seconds to go but the Jazz, in a foul situation and over the limit in team fouls, were forced to foul Hill who then made two free throws.
Williams‘ scoop layup made it 109-104 with 22 seconds, but again, the Jazz had to foul. This time, Ginobili did the honors, hitting two free throws to push San Antonio’s lead back up to 110-105, with 20.9 seconds to go.
A Spurs turnover gave the ball back to the Jazz but they rushed their shot and Parker went to the line with four seconds left, sealing the win, 112-105. The Spurs improved to 39-7, including a 15-5 road record.
Williams was superb for Utah, with 39 points and nine assists but his 11 of 14 shooting in the second half wasn’t enough to push the Jazz over the top as they fell to 27-19. Al Jefferson added 22 points.
San Antonio produced another well-balanced offensive attack and Ginobili led the team with 26 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Parker dropped in 23 points and Richard Jefferson added 14. Duncan and Neal each scored 13. They return home for a Saturday night matchup with the Houston Rockets before beginning their annual Rodeo Road Trip.
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