Spurs-Jazz Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 11, 2012
Nearly two weeks ago, the San Antonio Spurs were fined by the NBA for resting their stars. Now, they own the best record in the league behind a red-hot Tony Parker. Parker looks to build on his first career triple-double as the visiting Spurs try for a season-high sixth straight win and to continue their dominance of the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. San Antonio (18-4) has won 10 of 11 with the lone loss the infamous Nov. 29 visit to Miami in which coach Gregg Popovich wound up being fined $250,000 for sending four key players home. The Spurs haven't lost since, largely thanks to their point guard. Parker has averaged 23.6 points, 8.8 assists and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 61.4 percent from the floor since his night off against the Heat. The All-Star kept San Antonio rolling Monday, recording his first triple-double by scoring 27 points with 12 assists and 12 boards in a 134-126 overtime victory at Houston. "I was like: 'Man if we lose, nobody is going to care,'" Parker said of his milestone stat line. "That we won the game it makes it even better, because at the end of the day people only care about wins." The Spurs have the most road victories in the league, compiling an 11-2 record after winning the first two of this four-game trip, which ends in Portland on Thursday. No other team has won more than eight away from home. San Antonio has averaged 133.0 points on 51.6 percent shooting from behind the arc on the first half of the trip, and Gary Neal hit 7 of 10 3-point attempts for a career-high 29 points Monday. He's scoring 17.1 per game over the past seven. The Spurs have won 11 of the last 12 meetings with the Jazz (12-10), including a sweep in the opening round of the playoffs last season. In the first meeting since, Parker had 24 points and 10 assists in a 110-100 home win Nov. 3. He's averaged 22.1 points over his last 17 meetings with the Jazz, including the postseason. "He is who he is in this league and he does it every night," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We have to be aggressive with him. We have to give him different looks at different times, have different bodies on him. You have to continue to figure out what's working for him that night." Containing Parker could give Utah a season-high four game winning streak, and being at home should help. The Jazz are 8-1 as hosts, though they've dropped five of six there to the Spurs while shooting just 21.6 percent (16 of 74) from beyond the arc. "We're always comfortable playing at home," guard Mo Williams said. "So it's good to have them on our home floor. There's a comfort level there, but at the end of the day we respect those guys, but we want to win." Williams had 29 points and nine assists against the Spurs last month after being held to 9.5 points per game off the bench for the Clippers as they, too, were swept out of the playoffs by San Antonio. The Jazz have managed at least 50 points in the paint in four of their last five games despite being without reserve Derrick Favors. Favors, who has been battling plantar fasciitis, practiced Tuesday and is considered a game-time decision Wednesday.
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