Published November 20, 2014
The Utah Jazz hope a change of scenery can help them get back into their Western Conference quarterfinals set with the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs have taken the first two games of the series in the Alamo City by a combined 46 points with Game 3 set for the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday.
Tony Parker scored 18 points and dished out nine assists on Wednesday as San Antonio earned a dominant 114-83 victory.
"I thought we moved the ball great and our shooters were making shots," said Parker. "Defensively, I thought we did a good job controlling the boards."
Tim Duncan added 12 points and 13 rebounds in Game 2, while rookie Kawhi Leonard netted 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting for San Antonio, which took a 2-0 lead in the series. Danny Green dropped in 13 points, while Boris Diaw and Gary Neal finished with 11 apiece for the Spurs.
"Kawhi (Leonard) is someone who, I guess it's fair to say surprised us because you don't really know when you draft someone," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "You do your best job to research it and when that player comes in that's when you really learn about him. In Kawhi's case, he's absorbed information really well."
As a group the Spurs' shot 65.8 percent the field, 70.0 percent (7-10) from three-point range and were a perfect 10-for-10 from the foul line.
"The starters were impressive," Spurs swingman Manu Ginobili said. "They did a great job and built a lead very early in the game. And then we just kept playing. Tony (Parker), Tim (Duncan), Danny (Green), the starting group was fantastic today. They played a very good game."
Josh Howard and Al Jefferson scored 10 points apiece to lead the Jazz, who shot just 34.4 percent in the game, including a 1-for-6 mark from three-point range.
Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap and Alec Burks each scored nine points for Utah.
"In the first half they were aggressive and playing hard. They just weren't shooting the ball really good," Parker said when talking about the Jazz.
The Spurs have been especially dominant in the paint during this series. After outscoring the Jazz 58-44 inside in Game 1, San Antonio followed it up by outscoring Utah 62-36 in Game 2, matching a franchise playoff-high.
Utah coach Tyrone Corbin immediately shifted his thinking after the Game 2 loss to Salt Lake City.
"We have been great at home and we need to continue that," Corbin said. "They're going to come in a try and jump us early. We have to try and prepare for that."
Favors could be Corbin's answer. The Jazz have been outscored by the 46 points but are actually plus-6 when the young, athletic forward is on the floor.
"He's played well the minutes he's played," Corbin said. "We have got to make sure we are giving ourselves chances to win and we need everybody to play better, and with him on the floor, we are better."
Overall these teams have met in the postseason four times with a John Stockton and Karl Malone-led Jazz group taking the first three series in 1994, '96 and '98 before the Spurs broke through in the West finals in 2007.
Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Monday, also in Salt Lake City.