Spurs snap 16-game losing streak with victory over Jazz
By JOHN COON
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Keldon Johnson scored 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs snapped a 16-game losing streak, beating the Utah Jazz 102-94 on Tuesday night.
Doug McDermott added 19 points for the Spurs, Jeremy Sochan had 13 and Devonte Graham 12. San Antonio improved to 15-47, winning for the first time this season after trailing to start the fourth quarter.
The Spurs also won on the road for the first time since mid-December.
“Ain’t nothing like it, man,” Johnson said. “We fought the same fight. We stayed together as a group and good things happened.”
Lauri Markkanen had 28 points and nine rebounds for Utah. Walker Kessler added 10 points and 15 rebounds, Talen Horton-Tucker had 16 points and Kris Dunn added 11.
The Jazz floundered on offense while playing shorthanded, making just five baskets over the entire fourth quarter.
“We were very stubborn tonight,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. “We refused to adjust to what the game kept telling us over and over again.”
Blake Wesley, McDermott and Graham made 3-pointers to fuel an 11-0 run that erased a double-digit deficit early in the fourth and gave the Spurs an 88-82 lead.
Horton-Tucker tied it on back-to-back 3-pointers. The Jazz took a 92-91 lead on Dunn’s driving layup, but Johnson countered with a pair of baskets to put San Antonio up 98-93 with 2:06 remaining.
Johnson accounted for four of the Spurs’ nine fourth quarter baskets.
“I wanted to win,” Johnson said. “I feel like I had it going a little bit. I thought I’d make the right play. My coach and teammates trusted me. They put the ball in my hands. They trusted me to make the right decision.”
Utah did not score a basket over the final three minutes and shot a season-low 35% from the field.
San Antonio held an opponent under 100 points for just the fourth time this season.
“They played 48 minutes,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “It obviously wasn’t perfect. It never is. But watching them give that effort for 48 was very satisfying.”
San Antonio forced the Jazz out of their usual offensive style and limited Utah to a single contested shot on many possessions down the stretch.
“We got stagnant,” Markkanen said. “We ended up with more iso’s and post-ups than we ever do.”
TIP INS Spurs: Charles Bassey had 10 rebounds. … The Spurs are 1-42 when trailing after three quarters this season. … San Antonio outscored Utah 56-36 in the paint.
Jazz: Jordan Clarkson did not play (right thumb sprain) and Collin Sexton missed his third straight contest (left hamstring strain). … Johnny Juzang made his NBA debut. He had three points in 15 minutes.
UP NEXT Spurs: Host Indiana on Thursday night. Jazz: At Oklahoma City on Friday night. ---
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Updated March 1, 2023