The San Antonio Spurs take aim at a season-high sixth straight victory on Wednesday evening as they continue their four-game swing with a stop in Utah to battle the Jazz.
The Spurs had a five-game winning streak snapped on Nov. 29 with a loss at Miami, but have opened December with another five victories in a row. They matched their season-high win streak on Monday with a 134-126 overtime win against the Houston Rockets that featured the first triple-double of Tony Parker's career.
Parker had 27 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists, while Gary Neal set career highs with seven 3-pointers and 29 points. Manu Ginobili had 22 points and six assists, while Tim Duncan added 10 points and 13 rebounds.
"Down the stretch we made some shots," noted Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "Gary Neal got into it. Tony Parker all night long kept us in the game with his floor play at both ends of the court. He was magnificent. But down the stretch Neal made some shots for us so we were fortunate in that regard."
San Antonio is 11-2 on the road this season, having won the first two contests of its road trip. The Spurs lead the NBA with 18 wins and a .818 winning percentage, marking a big challenge for the Jazz.
"They understand how they play and how they want to play and they try to force their will on you," said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin of the veteran Spurs. "So we've got to make sure we know who we are, how we want to play, the tempo we want to play at and the sense of urgency to play it right from the beginning."
Corbin said his team will need to be aggressive to prevent the Spurs from controlling the game. Utah has already lost to San Antonio once this season, falling 110-100 on the road back on Nov. 3.
Parker had 24 points and 10 assists, while Duncan added 19 points and 11 rebounds as the Spurs beat the Jazz for the seventh time in the last eight regular-season meetings.
San Antonio also swept eighth-seeded Utah in the opening round of last season's playoffs.
Utah trailed November's meeting by 19 points at half, but outscored San Antonio 35-17 to even the game heading into the fourth. However, the Spurs were too much to handle in the fourth despite Utah's Mo Williams season-high 29 points, 15 in the third frame, and nine assists.
Williams notched 22 points in Sunday's 117-110 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, while Paul Millsap dropped a team-leading 24 points with nine rebounds. That helped the Jazz notch their season high-tying third straight win on the heels of a three-game slide.
Al Jefferson finished with 14 points and 11 boards, noting the team has to play as a whole to be successful.
"We don't have a superstar, so we have to play together," Jefferson said. "We have to get stops on the defensive end, and we did that tonight. This win was big."
The Jazz could have young forward Derrick Favors available tonight. He has missed the past five games with plantar fasciitis and is expected to be a game-time decision after being able to practice on Tuesday. Favors nearly returned on Sunday, but still had pain and decided not to give it a go.
"It's been hard. It's tough staying back there in the locker room watching the team play, but it's just something I have to deal with and be responsible with," said the third-year 21-year-old.
Favors is averaging 9.3 points and 7.5 assists in 17 games this season.