The postseason does not arrive for a month. But for now, Ginobili
says he feels good after missing eight games earlier in the season
with a hamstring injury.
He looked terrific Sunday night. Ginobili scored 21 points and the
Spurs won their 10th straight game, beating the Utah Jazz 122-104.
Ginobili, twisting and turning like a basketball contortionist, made
an array of driving shots as well as two 3-point baskets. He
converted 8 of 11 shots from the field.
"I'm trying to get to the rim more; I'm feeling healthy," Ginobili
said. "I'm feeling stronger."
San Antonio leads the NBA in 3-point shooting accuracy. That helps
create driving lanes to the basket for Ginobili, guard Tony Parker
"Most of the teams now are closing out on shooters, so I'm trying to
use that to my advantage and attack," Ginobili said.
Ginobili is one of those shooters who must be respected on the
"People get out on him at the 3-point line," Spurs coach Gregg
Popovich said. "That gives him an opportunity to drive those
close-outs. He's looking pretty spry. If he gets locked up, he gets
the ball to other people."
San Antonio shot a season-best 62.8 percent from the field and
improved to 50-16, the best record in the NBA.
Parker scored 18 points, hitting 7 of 11 shots from the field.
Forward Tim Duncan scored 16 points, missing on just three of his 10
shots from the floor. Center Tiago Splitter contributed 14 points on
6-for-7 shooting from the field and 10 rebounds.
Popovich seemed most impressed with Splitter.
"I thought Tiago was great," Popovich said. "Tiago was really tough,
defensively and boardwise. He really brought it."
Utah, which has the worst record in the NBA Western Conference at
22-45, did not go down without trying. The Jazz summoned the effort
to grab 13 offensive rebounds and turn them into 23 second-chance
points. Center Enes Kanter snagged six of the offensive rebounds.
Jazz forward Derrick Favors had a career-best 28 points and grabbed
10 rebounds. He hit 12 of 19 shots from the field. Swingman Gordon
Hayward added 17 points.
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The Jazz trailed by five points with less than five minutes
remaining in the third quarter. But during the final two minutes of
the quarter, Ginobili made a driving layup, guard Patty Mills
knocked down a 3-point shot and forward Boris Diaw added a mid-range
jump shot. The baskets by Mills and Diaw came during the final eight
seconds, giving the Spurs a 91-76 lead.
"They all pass the basketball," Hayward said. "The ball never stops.
They hit the open man and defensively they're all where they are
supposed to be at."
The Spurs led 61-53 at halftime, thanks to a 3-pointer by Ginobili
with 2.8 seconds remaining.
San Antonio shot 60.5 percent from the field in the first half — Ginobili and Duncan combined to hit 9 of 11 — but the Spurs failed
to open a bigger lead because they struggled to stop Favors and
Favors, a 6-foot-10 forward, torched the Spurs for 17 points in the
opening half. He converted 7 of 10 shots from the field. Hayward
scored 12 points in the first 24 minutes.
Utah would hung around for a while in the second half, but not long
"We thought we had them there for a minute," Favors said. "But they
just came down and made big plays."
NOTES: The Spurs' eight-point halftime lead marked the first time in
four games they did not hold a huge edge at the break. In the
previous three games, they led Chicago by 28, Portland by 16 and the
Los Angeles Lakers by 27. ... Utah arrived with a 1-7 record in
March. The Jazz had a chance for a victory at home on Friday against
the Los Angeles Clippers, leading by 10 points with four minutes
remaining in the third quarter. But Utah committed five turnovers in
the final 2:38 of the quarter and the Clippers took advantage to win
their 10th consecutive game, 96-87. ... The Spurs' 34-point win over
the Lakers on Friday broke a team record for victory margin against
the Lakers that stood since 1977. The previous mark was 32 points.
... Jazz F Marvin Williams returned after missing the game against
the Clippers with a lower back strain. But he did not resume his
usual role as a starter.
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