Throwback Thursday: 20 assists by Stockton in close game with the Spurs

Throwback Thursday: 20 assists by Stockton in close game with the Spurs

by Nico Fiscella

It’s time to travel thirty years back to when the 40-20 Utah Jazz faced off against the 39-19 San Antonio Spurs. The Jazz ultimately were defeated 105-96 in HemisFair Arena. Stockton still continued his historic playmaking career against the Spurs.

The Jazz kept the game competitive. However, they got off to a slow start as they trailed by 14 points after the first quarter.

Going into the half, the Jazz were down 59-46 and hoping for a comeback.

Utah ended up winning the third quarter, as they outscored San Antonio by five points. However, they ended up falling short as they could not rally for a fourth-quarter comeback.

To no one’s surprise, the Jazz were led by legends John Stockton and Karl Malone. The NBA assist leader dropped 20 dimes. He also had 12 points and 6 steals.

On a night where Stockton’s shot was not falling (4-14 from the field), Karl Malone’s was.

Malone finished the night with 34 points. He also shot over 60 percent from the field. He finished the night with a double-double. He pulled down ten rebounds as well.

Outside of the expected stars, another Malone had a good night for Utah. Jeff Malone supplied an additional 16 points for Utah. He connected on 50 percent of his shots.

The Jazz also had both Mark Eaton and Thurl Bailey finishing the night with double digits in the box score. Bailey finished the night with 12 points. Eaton did his job by collecting 11 rebounds and two blocks.

For San Antonio, future Hall-of-Fame center David Robinson filled the stat sheet with 33 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks.

The Spurs had four others finish in double-digit scoring: Sean Elliot (18), Willie Anderson (13), Paul Pressey (10), and Avery Johnson (10). Outside of scoring, both Anderson and Johnson led the Spurs with eight rebounds apiece.

Although the Jazz lost, Stockton’s 20 assist performance against San Antonio was not the first time had done this against the Spurs. It also would not be the last.

Stockton had four games with over 20 assists against the Spurs and owns six of the 25 best playmaking performances against San Antonio.

His best game came two months prior, as he recorded 28 assists in a 124-102 blowout. Stockton was also able to contribute 20 points and 8 steals in a historic performance. 

Ironically, Stockton’s playmaking assault on San Antonio was all within a three-year stretch. His top four assist nights against San Antonio all came from 1990 through 1992. 

Stockton’s assist throne does not seem like it will ever be taken any time soon. The next closest player sits over three thousand assists away. To dig deeper into statistics, Stockton is one of two players to have over thirty games with twenty or more assists. Stockton has 38 games under his belt while Magic Johnson retired with 32.

Who sits third all-time in this statistic? Rajon Rondo has nine total games of this feat. 

Although Utah could not secure the victory in San Antonio, John Stockton added to an already loaded resume. He holds most NBA records for assists, and it does not look like anyone will come close to his crown.

Featured image courtesy David Madison / Getty Images

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