Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Spurs survive Jazz to win sixth straight

Winning a sixth straight game seemed to be a reasonable task for the Spurs (31-8), considering they were playing at home against a Utah Jazz (13-27) team who sits dead last in the Western Conference.

But things almost went awry in the fourth quarter. The Jazz down by 16 points with only five minutes left outscored the Spurs 21-9 and cut the lead to as close as two points, but it was the All-Star play from Tony Parker that saved the day. Parker scored seven of his team-high 25 points down the stretch to seal a 109-105 win on Wednesday, Jan. 15 in front of 17,917 fans at the AT&T Center.

Parker added nine assists and Kawhi Leonard contributed 15 points, seven rebounds and a season-high six assists to guide the Spurs to their eighth win in the last nine games.

“He pulled us through it again,” Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said about Parker’s performance. “I thought the third quarter Timmy (Duncan), he (Parker) and Manu (Ginobili) all played really well and got a lead for us. All three of those guys did a great job, but then in the fourth Tony saved it for us really.”

Rookie point guard Trey Burke scored 11 straight points in just over a minute of play in the fourth quarter, including back-to-back 3’s that pulled Utah within two points. But Marco Belinelli, who scored 15 points off the bench, hit two late free throws to end the game.

“It just shows who he is,” Jazz Head Coach Tyrone Corbin said of Burke, who finished the game with 17 points and 11 assists. “There is not a moment too big for him. He relishes in those moments.”

Following a close first half of play, the Spurs took over the third quarter behind Parker’s 12 points, Duncan’s eight and Ginobili’s seven. Duncan ended the game with 15 points and eight rebounds while Ginobili had 13.

Parker attacked Burke, driving to the lane multiple times and scoring on three layups in the third quarter. Burke meanwhile shot 2-for-7 in the quarter, and 7-for-19 for the game.

“I learn a lot. You can learn so much by playing against a guy like that,” Burke said about playing against Parker. “He has been in the league for years and is very experienced. He is one of the best there is and I always personally thought that he never gets enough credit for what he has done in this league.”

The Spurs also continued to get help from their bench despite Tiago Splitter and Danny Green sitting out nursing injuries. Jeff Ayres scored a season-high 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting, highlighted by a series of two-handed dunks that got the team going.

Despite the 13-27 record this season, the Jazz showcased some bright players. Enis Kanter had a monster 25 points and 11 rebounds off the bench, Derrick Favors scored 19 points and hauled in 12 rebounds while Alec Burks, starting for only the sixth time this season, scored 20 points in place of leading scorer Gordon Heyward, who is out with a hip injury.

The Spurs face a stiff challenge at home on Friday night when the Portland Trailblazers (29-9) come to town. Portland defeated San Antonio in early November at home 115-105.

The game is set for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.

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