The Utah Jazz will bring a two-game winning streak into play when they begin a three-game road trip with a stop in San Antonio to face the slumping Spurs on Monday.
The Jazz (19-16) travel to the Alamo City for the first time this season after a three-day break and on the heels of a 120-112 win at home over Washington on Thursday. Malik Beasley led Utah with 25 points off the bench while Jordan Clarkson added 23, Lauri Markkanen hit for 21 and Walker Kessler scored 12.
The Jazz trailed by six at halftime but scored 13 straight points midway through the second half to flip the script. Collin Sexton scored five points in the final 11 seconds of the third quarter and finished with 18 points in 17 minutes.
Sexton returned to the Jazz lineup after missing seven games with a hamstring injury. The Jazz played without Kelly Olynyk, who’s been out three straight games with a sprained left ankle.
Despite Beasley’s big game on the offensive end, the talk of the Jazz’s locker room after the win was about his defense.
“Malik did a great job of recognizing the times to fan back out to the shooters and then ended up getting him a couple of steals,” Utah coach Will Hardy said. “It’s something that we work on a lot and talk about a lot. Those decisions in pick-and-roll defense can be hard to make. Malik did a great job of getting in those passing lanes.”
Thursday’s game was the only home contest for Utah in a stretch of six of seven games away from home. The Jazz’s three-game road trip includes stops in San Francisco and Sacramento to play the Warriors and Kings on Wednesday and Friday.
The Spurs (10-22) head home after a 133-113 loss at Orlando on Friday. The game was tied at halftime before San Antonio surrendered a 20-8 run over the final four and a half minutes of the third quarter that erased the Spurs’ seven-point lead.
San Antonio ran out of gas in the fourth and trailed by as many as 26 points while losing for the fourth time in five games.
The Spurs allowed Orlando to score 72 points in the second half.
“We’ve played two and three quarters well, but we have a hard time putting together a 48-minute game,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said afterward.
“We saw that when the defense collapsed at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth. The Magic outscored us in a 10-minute period, 46-20. We’ve seen it before, and we saw it (Friday). That’s the deal.”
Keldon Johnson returned from a hamstring injury that forced him to miss two games and led the Spurs with 17 points in the loss. Tre Jones added 16, Devin Vassell had 14 and Jeremy Sochan and Doug McDermott had 13 points apiece.
“It was a lack of communication for us,” Jones said. “We were giving them wide-open shots so it definitely made it a lot easier for them. (Friday) we got off to a better start, but then it was closing the half. We let them back in the game.”
–Field Level Media