Originally written on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 11/18/14
The situation: With 6.7 seconds remaining in the game and both teams tied at 96, Utah Jazz guard Mo Williams received the ball a-top the 3-point line. Williams was being defended one-on-one by San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green. Green defended Williams as close as he could, but Williams was still able to get a 3-pointer off that swished through the net at the buzzer as the Jazz defeated the Spurs 99-96. For the Spurs, Wednesday was a big night for Tim Duncan who posted 22 points, 21 rebounds, and six blocks. Even the win seemed like it was in reach as the Spurs held an eight point lead with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but four turnovers down the stretch lead to the Jazz closing the game out on a 14-3 run. Here’s the rundown of the thriller in Utah that ended in defeat for the Spurs. First Quarter: Spurs 28, Jazz 22 Shooting: Spurs 52%, Jazz 47% 3-point shooting: Spurs 3-of-4, Utah 2-of-5 The Spurs’ defense managed to hold the Jazz for the majority of the quarter as the Spurs were able to hold a brief 10-point lead. However, toward the end of the first, the Jazz’ bench became physical and ended the quarter on a 6-2 run. Green (12 points) and Duncan both scored eight points in the first, while Al Jefferson (21 points) also scored eight points for the Jazz. Second Quarter: Spurs 44, Jazz 53 Shooting: SAS 39%, UTA 55% 3-point shooting: SAS 4-of-9, UTA 4-of-9 The Jazz’ bench continued to play physically in the second as they helped the Jazz take the lead. At first, the Spurs couldn’t knock down open shots on offense, and then they just became stagnant. It was basically a one-pass-and-shoot type of offense.  The Jazz on the other hand continued their relentless play on offense as they scored 31 points in the quarter, while their defense held the Spurs to just 16 points in the quarter. Duncan led the Spurs with 13 points at half, though it took him 11 shots. By halftime, the Jazz had five players score six points or more. Third Quarter: Spurs 71, Jazz 71 Shooting: SAS 42%, UTA 48% 3-point shooting: SAS 5-of-12, UTA 5-of-14 The Spurs refocused on defense in the third quarter and the team put the clamps on Utah as the team held the Jazz to just 18 points in the third. Though open shots still weren’t going in, the Spurs managed to score 27 points in the quarter by getting to the free throw line and earning fast break points. After not having much of an impact for three quarters, the Spurs’ bench of Patty Mills and Tiago Splitter (10 points) closed the quarter on a 5-0 run. Duncan lead with 19 points and 17 rebounds after three, while Tony Parker (22 points, 7 assists) had 17 points. Fourth Quarter: Spurs 96, Jazz 99 Shooting: SAS 43%, UTA 49% 3-points shooting: SAS 8-of-19, UTA 8-fo-19 At the start of the fourth quarter, the Spurs’ bench continued to provide a spark as they managed to hold onto the lead until the closing lineup was inserted. With 4:09 remaining, the Spurs held a 93-85 lead and it seemed like they were on their way to their sixth win in a row. In those last four minutes though, the Spurs just couldn’t hold onto the ball as they turned the ball over and were outscored 14-3 as Williams ended the game with the buzzer beater. With the loss, the Spurs’ win streak ends at five as they fell to 18-5 on the season.  The team will fly north to play another back-to-back, this time in Portland, Oregon against the Trail Blazers on Thursday. Post-game Notes According to ESPN’s statistics, Duncan’s 20-20-5 game was the first done by a player at the age of 35 or older since David Robinson back in 2001. After the Spurs shot 12-of-23 in the first quarter, they only connected on 25-of-64 of their shots for the remainder of the game. Whether they were open looks, rushed, or contested, the Spurs just couldn’t sink a shot in Utah. Along with Jefferson and Williams, the Jazz got 24 points and 12 rebounds from Paul Millsap, while Gordon Hayward pitched in 19 points off the bench. With shots not falling, the Spurs’ ball movement didn’t look productive as the team finished with just 18 assists, while their average is 25 per game. One of the Spurs’ strongest elements, their bench, struggled as the team barely outscored the Jazz bench 35-31.
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