The night belonged to Tony Parker and the Spurs again as experience lifted them over the Jazz Saturday night 102-90.
With just over eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the Jazz had pulled within five points after going on an 8-0 run. Parker broke the Jazz run with a little running floater from four feet and then continued to break the game wide open as he scored 16 additional points by the end of the quarter. Parker ended with a game-high 27 points; making him the high scorer in all three playoff games.
The Jazz now find themselves going into Monday night’s game in 3-0 hole, a hole that no NBA team has ever overcome in a seven-game playoff series.
“It hurts because it puts us down 3-0,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “It’s a tough loss on our home floor. I thought we played better but we just couldn’t put it together enough to get over the hump against these guys. Their experience showed, they are a great ball club.”
Free throws were one of the things that the Jazz could not put together. The Jazz shot a horrendous 54 percent from the stripe by only hitting 14 of the 26 freebies. The Spur’s shot a much more efficient 77 percent from the line.
“We’ve got to do a better job of making free throws, myself included,” Devin Harris said. “Those are free points that we need, especially in this type of game. Free throws and field goal percentage, those are things that we need to increase at a high rate.”
Another area of play that will haunt Corbin and the post players as they watch game film in preparation for their next meeting Monday night, is the points-in-the-paint ratio. The Spurs outscored the Jazz in the paint 50-28.
“They do a great job of pressuring the ball at the point first, and then the guys coming out to the wing make you catch it at a bad angle, a step out from the free throw line,” Corbin said. “[Also] in the post they are either fronting, or bumping off his spot and making Al and Paul catch it two, three steps off the post rather than getting it deep.”
Despite being bumped out of the paint, Al Jefferson still managed to rack up 21 points and grab 11 boards. Jefferson made his living by relying heavily on the mid-range jumper that was falling for him at a consistent rate. Jefferson said that he and the other big men will need to fight a little harder to make sure that have more presence down low.
They will need to fight a lot harder if they are going to push this series back to San Antonio.