by Alma Bean
Feature Image: Photo by Darren Abate of the Associated Press.
The Utah Jazz (19-16) takes on the San Antonio Spurs (10-23) in their first game in a three-game road trip.
Once Upon a Time in San Antonio
San Antonio and Utah looked pretty similar in the first quarter. What separated the two was the free-throw line. Both teams had 11 FGM (SA: 11/23 47.8%, UTA: 11/27 40.7%), but Utah continued to foul San Antonio. San Antonio went on to shoot 7/9 (77.8%) from the free throw line while Utah was limited to 2/3 (66.7%) from the line. Utah’s inability to make a perimeter shot (2/10, 20%) in the first quarter prevented them from being able to hold the lead. San Antonio took advantage of Utah’s shooting woes and finished the quarter with a 31-26 lead.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “Collin is ballin’ with a quick 7 this quarter #TakeNote https://t.co/33tlZMrL3a” / Twitter
In the second quarter, Utah relied on their perimeter shooting to keep this game close. Though it may not look pretty, Utah went 5/14 (35.7%) from the perimeter accounting for half of their points for the quarter. Utah had to think long-term early when both Walker Kessler (7 points and 4 rebounds) and Jarred Vanderbilt (7/5/3) got into foul trouble. Kessler finished the quarter with four fouls and Vanderbilt with three fouls. Even with both Mike Conley (17/5/6) and Lauri Markkanen (32/12/1) scoring 14 points apiece in the half, Utah still trailed 63-56 going into the locker room.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “🇫🇮 Hauskaa Joulua 🇫🇮 #TakeNote | @MarkkanenLauri https://t.co/xZxZPUReUT” / Twitter
Any Given Night
Utah almost mimicked their first-quarter offensive production in the third quarter. Going 2/11 (18.2%) from the perimeter and 8/23 (34.8%) from the field, Utah struggled to find easy buckets. With the early foul trouble, Utah had to start the half with some small ball with Malik Beasley (13/5/2) starting the half in place of Kessler. Normally Utah would rely on their perimeter shooting to keep them in games but up to this point, their free throw shooting kept things within reach. Through the first three quarters, Utah had shot 19/23 (82.6%) from the free throw line when they’ve been averaging 77.8 percent from the line. Utah’s ability to capitalize on San Antonio’s turnovers and convert them to points put Utah trailing 96-82 going into the final quarter.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “the block 🇫🇮 the attack 🏴☠️ the bucket 🔋 #TakeNote https://t.co/BaXbCxjdNB” / Twitter
Though Utah was down by 14 points going into the fourth quarter, they would not go down without a fight. Utah actually had one of their highest-scoring quarters of the season with 40 points in the fourth quarter. Lowering their emphasis on perimeter shooting, Utah shot 4/8 (50%) from beyond be made multiple visits to the free-throw line. Utah averages 22.4 free throw attempts per game yet went 31/37 (83.8%) against San Antonio. Jordan Clarkson (25/7/4) put Utah on his back shooting 2/2 (100%) from the perimeter and 4/5 (80%) from the field in the fourth, including a three-point shot that put Utah down 123-120 in the final seconds of the game. Tre Jones (11/5/5) put the game away with a bucket on the other ultimately resulting in a loss for Utah 126-122.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “Mountain Mike three counter: ⛰️ ⛰️ ⛰️ ⛰️ ⛰️ #TakeNote | @mconley11 https://t.co/THuZbBl6ZX” / Twitter
Utah will travel to sunny San Francisco to take on the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night in their second game of this road trip.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “”I will always credit our team’s resilience, another example that we just won’t go away. … It’s a great opportunity for our team to learn that we have to maintain that focus.” #TakeNote” / Twitter