Kawhi Leonard shines as Spurs beat Jazz 100-86

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder put it simply after his team lost to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night, ''Kawhi Leonard was really good.''

Leonard scored 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Spurs avenged their lone loss of the season with a 100-86 victory over the Jazz.

The Spurs bounced back from a 15-point home loss to the Jazz on Tuesday after losing just one game in San Antonio all of last season.

''I expected for them to come out and try to get off to a great start and just sustain, and they did that,'' Jazz forward Joe Johnson said. ''After we kind of hit first, they withstood the first five minutes and made a run of their own. We just never really got back.

''(Leonard) is shooting the ball unbelievable off picks. He's handling off pick-and-rolls and making plays. He's been tough to guard.''

The Jazz jumped to a 10-2 lead in the first quarter and an unhappy Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called a timeout just minutes into the game. The Spurs responded with a 29-7 run and the Jazz never led again.

Utah got within seven points in the third quarter, but Leonard responded with five quick points and the Jazz never got within single digits the rest of the game.

Leonard continued his MVP-caliber season by shooting 9 for 18 from the field while LaMarcus Aldridge added 19 points and six rebounds.

Rodney Hood led the Jazz with 18 points, but they shot just 37.5 percent.

''It's only two games,'' Popovich said about facing the Jazz twice. ''You win some, you lose some. It's not necessarily (that we) discovered the Holy Grail and instituted it tonight and won the game because of it. We played better.''


Spurs: G Tony Parker missed the game due to right knee soreness. He did not travel with the team. ... Patty Mills started at point guard and scored 16 points to go with three rebounds and three assists. ''Patty is a great offensive player and he has been playing really well running the offense,'' Spurs center Pau Gasol said. ''Tony is a very important player for us, but if he is taking this time off it's because he needs it.''

Jazz: Gordon Hayward went through a pregame workout with the fingers on his left hand taped up. The star forward is out indefinitely with a broken finger on his non-shooting hand. ... F Boris Diaw missed his second consecutive game with a right leg contusion.


The Jazz season has started with four playoff teams in their first six games, including the Spurs twice. They hit the road for five straight and seven of nine away from Salt Lake City.

''The biggest thing for me is, you hope for your team to continue to improve,'' Snyder said. ''That is the primary thing. If competition early can accelerate that process, that is a good thing. There's been times where that competition early can knock you back. So it can go either way.''


''Our identity as a defensive team has to be something we hold on tighter to,'' Snyder said. ''You can call that lack of focus. It's more subtle in some ways. For me it's a lot of little things we weren't doing. They add up.

''We have to know if we're not focused and we're not ready to play defense, we won't. It's not habitual yet. It's not who we are yet and it's who we need to become who we are.''


Spurs: Host the Los Angeles Clippers and point guard Chris Paul, who entered Friday with a league-high 3.25 steals per game, on Saturday.

Jazz: Travel to face a New York Knicks team on Sunday, that improved to 2-3 after a win over the Bulls on Friday.