Spurs make history in comeback against Jazz

The night Gregg Popovich became the winningest coach of all time, the San Antonio Spurs had to fight through adversity to achieve this, but as he had done 1,135 times before, the coach Pop led the team to victory. the Utah Jazz were the unlucky team on the other side of that historic night, having squandered a 15-point fourth-quarter lead.

The visitors started to burn from the outside, hitting four of their first five attempts. The Silver & Black were at least able to keep them out of the paint, using active hands and crumbling inside. Spurs were slightly shorthanded for the game, with Doug McDermott, Josh Primo, Romeo Langford, Keita Bates-Diop and Devontae Cacok. This meant they only had 10 players available, forcing Coach Pop to get creative with his rosters. The second unit lacked size in defense and Rudy Gobert & Hassan Whiteside feasted under the basket. San Antonio backup center Zach Collins made the difference at the other end, stretching the floor and knocking down two triples. Spurs were only down three after one; 33-30.

To start the second, Dejounte Murray and Jordan Clarkson were entrenched in a goal duel – Clarkson hit three shots, while Murray nailed his patented midrange jumpers. After some good defensive possessions where the home side blocked plenty of shots, Keldon Johnson came down the other end and hit an AND-1 that gave Spurs the lead. Unfortunately, this drove Donovan Mitchell crazy because he began to take control of the game, scoring at all levels and getting all of San Antonio’s defensive attention. The All-Star helped create a nine-point lead for the Jazz at halftime; 59-50.

The third quarter was perhaps a candidate for the worst quarter played of the season for any game. A total of 29 points, a whole bunch of turnovers and generally slow play. Had the second half of the period not caught up with the first half, it could have become the lowest combined quarter ever, with just six combined points in the first seven minutes. The Jazz offense finally woke up and moved the ball better, which gave them a ten-point lead going into the final frame; 74-64.

Out of the blocks, Spurs were fighting hard to get back into the game, but numerous whistles and saves slowed the pace of the competition. Dejounte Murray wasn’t going to let that stop him as he got in his place and knocked down jumper after jumper. He eventually tied the game with five minutes left. Both teams went back and forth trading buckets trying to get some breathing space from their opponent. But after Lonnie Walker IV was fouled at three with just over a minute to go, Spurs took a one-point lead. The Silver & Black were stopped before a shot from Jakob Poeltl extended their lead by two. It became a free-throw contest late on, but Spurs were kitted out doing just enough to close out the 104-102 win and give Coach Pop the record victory.

Game Notes

  • Gregg Charles Popovitch. 1,336 wins, the most of all time and in almost 400 games less than its predecessors. 26 seasons, five NBA championships, if there was ever any question of the greatest of all time, there surely won’t be anymore.
  • Back to the fourth quarter. Back to the game, we must not forget that the Spurs came back from 15 points behind in the fourth quarter to win. It was their first win of the season starting the fourth quarter behind they were 0-33 going into this game. They never give up. Not once did they lower their heads, even in difficult times, always believing that their time would come to run. When that moment came, they played hard mentally, got their shots and defended as a unit. Hopefully this is the boost Spurs needed to be able to win closer games in stride.
  • Play-In Update. San Antonio is 1 game shy of the 10th seed with 15 games remaining.

Game of the game

Not a play, just a moment in history.

Spurs Valuable Player (SVP)

3rd place (1 point): Zach Collins | 19 minutes, 15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 2 threes

Zach Collins put in his best performance in a Spurs jersey with his display against the Jazz. Going up against physical centers such as Gobert and Whiteside is no easy task, but Collins played his part. He stretched the ground on offense pulling the Jazz greats to the perimeter and on defense he wasn’t afraid to get physical.

2nd place (2 points): Jakob Poeltl | 29 minutes, 15 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks, best game +11

Both Spurs centers were up for the challenge against Utah, with Jakob providing goals but mostly rebounds and defense. He was the best +11 in the game and it showed as he made it difficult for Rudy Gobert all night. He landed a few huge free throws down the stretch and then stabbed home to give Spurs a three-point lead with 30 seconds left.

1st place (3 points): Dejounte Murray | 37 minutes, 27 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals

If it hadn’t been for Dejounte’s 15 points in the fourth quarter, there would have been no comeback and no Pop record. He was wonderful in the final quarter, scoring at will from mid-range, taking the game into his own hands. He strengthened defensively in the second half after Donovan Mitchell had 18 in the first. DJ accepted the assignment and Mitchell struggled, scoring just six points in the final 24 minutes.

General classification

Inasmuch as1st – Dejounte Murray – 104pts

2nd – Jakob Poeltl – 61pts

3rd – Derrick White – 51pts

4th – Keldon Johnson – 48pts

5th – Devin Vassell – 42pts

6th – Lonnie Walker IV – 31pts

7th – Doug McDermott – 16pts

8th – Bryn Forbes – 12pts

9th – Thaddée Young – 11pts

10th – Tre Jones – 7pts

11th – Keita Bates-Diop – 6pts

12th – Jock Landale – 4pts

13th – Josh Primo & Josh Richardson – 3pts

14th – Drew Eubanks – 2pts

15th – Devontae Cacok & Zach Collins – 1pt

Next game: Vs Indiana on Saturday

Not much time to celebrate for Spurs as the Indiana Pacers come to town for the second half of back to back. With Pop’s record now in the bag, San Antonio can start focusing on the play-in with 15 games to go.