San Antonio, TX – Tony Parker netted 28 points and dished out eight assists, leading the San Antonio Spurs to a resounding 106-91 win over Utah in the opener of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
"I was trying to set up my teammates and be aggressive. Overall we were aggressive," said Parker. "We have to match [Utah's] energy. They're a very physical team and they play with a lot of intensity. It's going to be a war the whole series on the boards. "
Tim Duncan tallied 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who have won 11 games in a row since an April 11 defeat to the Lakers.
Unlike last year, the top-seeded Spurs are off to a good start in the playoffs. In 2011, they lost their opener at home to Memphis and were ousted in six games despite having the No. 1 seed.
"The guys they put on the floor are very effective in what they are trying to do and they do a great job of executing the offense," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said of San Antonio. "On defense, they're all aggressive on what they're trying to do. Their rotations are quick and crisp. There's not a lot of guessing on this team. They just react to what you do and try to force you off your spot."
Paul Millsap had 20 points and nine rebounds for the Jazz.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Wednesday, again at AT&T Center.
The Spurs had lost their previous three playoff openers, but used a run in the latter stages of the opening quarter and didn't trail the rest of the way on Sunday.
A layup from Devin Harris widened Utah's lead to 11-6, but the Southwest Division champions went on an ensuing 17-4 burst. Stephen Jackson, who had 14 points, gave the Spurs the lead for good with a jumper near the four-minute mark and Gary Neal's pull-up jumper closed the flurry with 1 1/2 minutes left.
Holding a 28-22 lead after 12 minutes, the Spurs used Parker's offensive production in the second to keep the Jazz behind. He scored 12 in the period.
The Jazz closed the margin to 32-30 on a Derrick Favors layup with 8:39 left in the half, but Parker took over later and his three-point play moved the lead to 52-43 with 54.1 seconds to go. It was 54-47 at the half.
A layup from Danny Green, his only two points of the afternoon, moved the Spurs to a 66-55 cushion and the gap reached 85-79 at the close of the third after three-pointers from Jackson and Matt Bonner.
Utah never got closer than eight in the final quarter, and that came at 89-81 on a Jamaal Tinsley three with 7 1/2 minutes left. But the Spurs quickly went back up double digits on a Parker layup followed by his free throw and a Bonner three-ball.
Spurs center Tiago Splitter suffered a sprained left wrist...In the playoffs for a 15th straight season, the Spurs have lost in the first round two of the last three years...Gordon Hayward had 17 points and Al Jefferson ended with 16 points and nine boards for the Jazz, who including playoffs have won just twice at San Antonio since May 2, 1999.