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article imageNBA: Spurs win streak at four, control Jazz, 111-102

By Lynn Herrmann     Apr 10, 2011 in Sports
San Antonio - Playing their final home game of the regular season, the San Antonio Spurs hosted the Utah Jazz on Saturday night and took control of the game late in the second quarter to improve their record to 61-19 with a 111-102 win at the AT&T Center.
The Spurs played with the look of a team gearing up for the Western Conference playoffs by shooting 58 percent from the field in a game that saw seven players score in double figures.
With their offense humming as the playoffs approach, San Antonio was led by Richard Jefferson with 20 points, who added a spectacular alley-oop dunk late in the second quarter, part of a Spurs 9-0 run that turned a tight game into an affair allowing head coach Gregg Popovich to give considerable rest to his big three, with Tim Duncan playing just 22:23 minutes. Tony Parker played 29:15 while scoring 13 points. Manu Ginobili played just over 27 minutes and scored 12 points.
The real damage by the team’s leading 1-2 scoring punch, however was in their passing. Parker and Ginobili teamed up for 13 assists, many of them on the spectacular level, in helping get their teammates involved throughout the game.
Late in the second quarter, the 9-0 run was triggered by a Jefferson trey that gave the Spurs a 51-46 lead. After forcing a Utah turnover, George Hill delivered a high-flying slam, followed by the alley-oop lob from Gary Neal to Jefferson. The explosion of energy allowed the Spurs to take a 57-46 lead into intermission.
Jefferson’s 20-point performance was his first 20-point game since November 10, and came in part on 4-of-7 shooting from three-point land. Speaking of Jefferson, Duncan said: “He’s really starting to get into that playoff mode. Not only is he shooting the ball well, he’s driving the ball and getting people open. We expect more from him coming down the stretch,” according to MySA.
For Utah, their woes continue since former head coach Jerry Sloan stepped down. After the loss against the Spurs, the Jazz have now lost 10 of their last 11 games and 30 of their last 40. They started the season at 27-13 with Sloan guiding them.
Popovich made extensive use of his bench throughout the second half, while giving starting center Antonio McDyess the night off. Rookie Tiago Splitter continued his recent string of strong showings, scoring 13 points and grabbing eight rebounds in just under 19 minutes of action.
Having locked up home court advantage through the first three rounds of the playoffs last week, the Spurs end their regular season this week with back-to-back road games against the Lakers on Tuesday and the Suns on Wednesday. A win in either of those, combined with a Chicago Bulls loss in one of their remaining games, would guarantee San Antonio home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
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