SAN ANTONIO – Richard Jefferson scored 20 points and the San Antonio Spurs began resting up with the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference secured, beating the Utah Jazz 111-102 on Saturday night.
The Spurs (61-19) have two games left and are 1½ games ahead of Chicago for the NBA's best record. Protecting that lead will likely fall to the bench as San Antonio focuses on keeping fresh for the playoffs.
DeJuan Blair had 12 points starting in place of Antonio McDyess, who got the night off. Coach Gregg Popovich said he won't be overplaying anybody through the next week.
Al Jefferson led Utah with 23 points. The Jazz lost for the 10th time in 11 games, unable to pull a second upset this week after beating the Los Angeles Lakers.
That stunner Wednesday is what clinched the fifth No. 1 seed for the Spurs in the Tim Duncan era. The Spurs visit the Lakers on Tuesday, but with little at stake, the game hardly figures to be a potential Western Conference finals preview.
Manu Ginobili had 12 points in 27 minutes and Tony Parker had 13 in 29 minutes. Both played into the fourth when the Jazz crept within single digits. Duncan had 10 points and didn't play in the final quarter.
"Our concern is to keep consistent, to keep our rhythm," Popovich said before tipoff. "But as we get into next week we're certainly not going to overplay anybody."
The Jazz are just trying to finish a forgettable season.
Coach Tyrone Corbin came into the game with only 10 healthy players and guessed it might stay that way the rest in their final two games. Derrick Favors scored 17 points and Paul Millsap added 16.
Utah trailed by 11 at halftime but quickly fell behind in the third, when San Antonio stretched the lead to 17 while shooting 12 of 15 from the field.
Jefferson put together his first 20-point game since November by shooting 6 of 10 from the field and hitting four 3-pointers. His most memorable play, however, came on an alley-oop dunk from Gary Neal moments after George Hill wowed the crowd with an impressive one-handed dunk over Earl Watson.
Devin Harris added 13 points for Utah on just 3 of 11 shooting. He also too two tumbles into the front row, the second time into a young fan. A member of the Spurs' training staff went over to check on the fan, who appeared to be OK.
NOTES: Popovich needs three wins to reach 800 with the Spurs. ... San Antonio swept the season series 3-0 over Utah. ... The Spurs must win their final two games (Lakers, Phoenix) to match their franchise-record 63 wins set in 2005-06.