Spurs defeat Jazz by 31 points, take control of series


May 2, 2012; San Antonio, TX, USA; Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson (center) watches from the bench during the second half of game two in the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT

It was a miserable night for the Utah Jazz.

It happened with 10:23 remaining in the first quarter. A tie, that is. In fact, it would be the only time Utah would tie the game for the entire night. Of course, without the benefit of hindsight, the Jazz had no idea what they were getting themselves into.

It was a pair of Josh Howard made free throws after Kawhi Leonard committed a personal foul.

Then, the Spurs went on a 13-2 run where every shot was either assisted, free throw attempts or unassisted layups. By then, a timeout was pointless. The damage was irreparable and the Spurs were just getting started.

The Spurs finished the night shooting 57.3 percent from the field. Utah, conversely, shot 34.4 percent. The Spurs also finished with 28 assists, 12 more than Utah. Seven Spurs were in double-figures compared to two for the Jazz. Utah converted on one 3-pointer. San Antonio drained 10.

Not only did the Spurs dominate from the perimeter — six 3-pointers came from Danny Green and Leonard, alone — but they outscored Utah by 26 points in the paint.

Basically, everything went according to plan. The starters, especially, dominated the game. Parker, Green, Leonard, Duncan and Diaw shot 65.9 percent from the field and each was in double-figures. While they were in the game, Utah was considerably outplayed. Danny Green’s +31 was the lowest plus/minus among Spurs starters.

May 2, 2012; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (4) shoots as Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap (24) defends during the first half of game two in the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the AT

Utah got a slight reprieve when the starters exited and the usually excellent Spurs bench took over. While DeJuan Blair and Gary Neal scored in double-figures, the Spurs were outscored in their time on the court. The only “positive” (in terms of plus/minus at least) bench player was Manu Ginobili and he struggled to get much going, scoring four points on 2-of-6 shooting.

The only two points of contention for Spurs fans regarding Game 1 came down to their shaky transition defense and rebounding disadvantage. If last night indicated anything it would be that the Spurs are more than capable of dominating in transition and pacing the Jazz in rebounding.

San Antonio scored 29 points in transition, 11 more than Utah. On their 12 turnovers — four coming from Manu — Utah only mustered four points, indicating that, while San Antonio made some mistakes, nothing would come easy. The Jazz were less careful with the ball turning it over 15 times. Those 15 turnovers, however, led to 22 points.

The Al Jefferson-Paul Millsap tandem wasn’t very effective tonight. Neither was the Jazz’ backcourt even though they actually played better than in Game 1. Other than getting to the line, Utah leaves San Antonio with barely anything positive to take away from their two losses (average margin of loss was 23 points).

In the last six years, Utah has won two games at the AT&T Center. They’re probably ecstatic that they will play the next two games in the comfy confines of their home crowd. Then again, if the Spurs ethereal play indicates anything, their advantage will probably be rendered mute.

Game notesThe Spurs converted on 10-of-22 3-point attempts; they are 19-6 when they make at least 10 3s … Other than Matt Bonner, every Spur had at least one point, rebound and assist … Bonner had none of the above … San Antonio created 10 steals, marking the 14th time that they’ve recored at least 10 steals … Danny Green swatted three shots, matching his career set this year on Jan. 13 against Portland … The Spurs converted on 10-of-10 free throws tonight, their second game this year with a perfect free throw percentage … Boris Diaw led the game with a gaudy +41 …