San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz Recap: Flipping the script at home

SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 9: Joe Ingles #2 of the Utah Jazz and Rudy Gay #22 of the San Antonio Spurs fight for position (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 9: Joe Ingles #2 of the Utah Jazz and Rudy Gay #22 of the San Antonio Spurs fight for position (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images) /

For the first time since November, the San Antonio Spurs have won two straight games after defeating the Utah Jazz 110-97 on Sunday evening.

As the saying goes, the Utah Jazz punched the waning San Antonio Spurs in the mouth in the first meeting of the season on Tuesday. In a display of well-executed offense and staggering defense, the Jazz hit a franchise-record 20 threes in the 35-point blowout. Utah used their victory to add to a great run since starting off the season slow.

Unfortunately for the Jazz, San Antonio came prepared to flip the script on Sunday night.

87. 118. . 110. 29

It’s become evident that superstar shooting guard DeMar DeRozan has reached another level of play in his short time as a Spur. He made it very clear that he’d play with a chip on his shoulder once the trade was completed and up to this point in the season, DeRozan has lived up to the promise.

After performing poorly in Salt Lake City, DeRozan dropped 26 points on 23 shots in addition to six rebounds and six assists. He made a point to be a more aggressive defender against sophomore standout Donovan Mitchell, who finished with 27 points and two steals.

Sunday Funday ?

Highlights from tonight's win ?

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 10, 2018

Likely with head coach Gregg Popovich’s preachings in the back of his mind, DeRozan took advantage of Utah’s sloppy offense by picking off an errant pass by Derrick Favors in the first quarter and plucking the ball from Joe Ingles in the second. Though he didn’t tally any steals in the second half, DeRozan blocked a shot under the basket by center Rudy Gobert.

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DeRozan has been on a tear lately, posting 29.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.6 assists 1.2 steals 1 block over his last five games.

For as exceptional as he was in the matchup, his contributions were part of a larger team effort on both ends of the floor. Over their last five quarters of play, the Spurs have seemed to truly put things together. They’ve forced both Los Angeles and Utah to play to the opportune pace and style instructed by Popovich and his staff.

In a solid two-way performance, big man LaMarcus Aldridge posted 20 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field. He didn’t seem to force as many shots as he has over the last month, committing to an efficient and effective style.

Aldridge kept a cool head on his shoulders tonight and was able to best his matchup, last year’s DPOY. His instincts and anticipation were key to blocking three shots in the contest.

It’s been a tremendous year for LaMarcus on the glass, but he finished the contest with only six rebounds. This was largely due to the outstanding night by Rudy Gay, who exploded for 23 points and a season-high 15 rebounds. The 13-year veteran was extremely efficient, making 10-of-16 field goal attempts and 3-of-4 shots from the charity stripe.

Most importantly, he threw down a wicked dunk over Rudy Gobert in the second quarter.

Watch your head, @Dwhite921!

? @FOXSportsSW

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 10, 2018

Just when you think things couldn’t get better, Derrick White elevated for a powerful two-handed jam over Gobert off of a clean bounce pass from Gay midway through the fourth. When you’ve got two separate Spurs dunking on one of the last decade’s most impactful defensive players, you have to assume it’s a good night at the AT&T Center.

This can serve as a statement victory for the San Antonio Spurs. As shorthanded as they were with Davis Bertans, Dante Cunningham, Pau Gasol and Lonnie Walker IV all sidelined, the Spurs played their own brand of basketball including some first-rate defense as a unit. It wasn’t an impressive shooting night for the team, who hit just five three-pointers in the contest.

San Antonio bested Utah in turnovers, points off of turnovers, field goal percentage, points in the paint and a handful of other notable categories in what was mostly a lopsided contest. The bench, while limited to just four players, was effective with a wide array of lineups being implemented throughout the night.

Next. The San Antonio Spurs need to learn how to win on the road

All of the Spurs’ problems won’t be fixed with a single game, but this victory was a great sign of what is to come.