Jazz Fall To San Antonio Ahead Of Marathon Road Trip

Feb 28, 2023, 10:32 PM | Updated: Mar 1, 2023, 11:43 am

SALT LAKE CITY – The San Antonio Spurs outhustled and outexecuted the Jazz to snap their 16-game losing streak with a 102-94 victory in Utah.

The Spurs hadn’t won a game since January 17 and hadn’t won on the road since December 19 in Houston.

The Jazz led by double-digits late in the third quarter, but lost the fourth 31-21, allowing San Antonio to close their brutal nine-game rodeo road trip with a rare win.

“I want to give a lot of credit to the Spurs, and they deserved to win,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. “They didn’t win because of us, they won because they came and they play harder than we did. They took it from us.”

Lauri Markkanen scored game-high 28 points, but the Jazz committed 20 turnovers, missed 12 free throws, and recorded only 15 assists as they fell to 1-2 against San Antonio this season.

Jazz Still Struggling To Win Three Straight

After Tuesday’s surprising loss, the Jazz haven’t won three consecutive games since they last did it November 6-9, part of their red-hot 10-3 start to the season.

Since then, the team has won back-to-back games on eight different occasions but failed to secure that rare third victory each time.

It’s a sign of the team’s consistency that even without a few extended winning streaks, they still sit at 31-32 and in the hunt for the Western Conference playoffs.

But, if they wind up falling short of the postseason, they might look back at their blown opportunities to lace together three consecutive wins as a key reason for landing in the lottery.

“We just stay positive and keep working and fight our way through it,” Markkanen said. “I think that’s one of the good qualities of this team is not giving up. And then obviously we’ve just got to fix our winning streak part.”

On four different occasions, the Jazz carried two-game win streaks into matchups against opponents with .500 records or worse,  but have fallen each time, dropping two games to San Antonio, one to the Portland Trail Blazers, and one to the Atlanta Hawks.

The team now has to hope to start a new winning streak when they travel to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder on Friday.

Next Six Games Might Determine Jazz Season

If the Jazz are determined to make a push for the playoffs over the final 19 games, the next six might determine their future.

After falling to the Spurs, the Jazz head out on a marathon six-game road trip, their longest of the season, including three games that will have a huge impact on the Western Conference standings.

The Jazz open the road trip with back-to-back games in Oklahoma City where only two games separate the teams in the standings.

If the Jazz were to sweep the two games series, they’d own a likely insurmountable lead in the standings with just 16 games left on the schedule.

If they were to lose both, or split the series, Oklahoma City would still have a shot at overtaking the Jazz by season’s end, especially as the teams will face off one final time on April 6 in Utah.

The Jazz then travel to Dallas to face the seventh-ranked Mavericks who own a precarious one-game lead on the Jazz for the top play-in spot in the West.

A win would tie the season series between the teams at two games a piece, while a loss would push the Jazz further back in the standings, without the benefit of a tiebreaker in the playoff chase.

From Dallas, the Jazz face their two easiest games on the trip, making stops Orlando and Charlotte, though it’s worth notingg the Magic have won 13 of their last 25 outings since January 1.

Finally, the Jazz finish their road trip against the Miami Heat on March 13, followed by a long hiatus before hosting the Boston Celtics on March 18 in Salt Lake City.

With 19 games left to play, the Jazz still have the ability to make a strong playoff push or fall back in the standings to improve their lottery odds. How they perform on the upcoming six-game road trip may determine their strategy over the final three weeks of the season.

Quin Snyder Makes Hawks Debut

Elsewhere in the NBA former Jazz head coach Quin Snyder made his debut as the leading man for the Atlanta Hawks.

Snyder was hired by the Hawks on Sunday and was on the sidelines on Tuesday against the Washington Wizards.

Before the Jazz faced Spurs, head coach Gregg Popovich discussed the difficult task Snyder faced in Atlanta with just 20 games left in the season.

“He’s got to evaluate the players and how they work together, he’s got to learn about every one of those players before he does anything else, which he will do, he’s quite sharp,” Popovich said.

Unfortunately for Snyder, the Hawks came up just short in his debut, falling to the Wizards 119-116.

The Hawks led 108-100 midway through the fourth quarter but allowed Washington to finish on a 19-8 run over the final six minutes of the game to steal the victory.

Hawks star Trae Young had two good looks in the final seconds to tie the game, but both attempts came up just short.

After Tuesday’s loss, the Hawks sit at 31-31 for the season, and in the eighth seed in the East, a half-game ahead of the Toronto Raptors.

“He knows what’s going on,” Popovich said, “he’s a great coach.”

Jazz Next Broadcast

The Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder will tip off at 7 pm MT on Friday. The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. It can also be streamed on DirecTV Stream and FuboTV.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Jazz Fall To San Antonio Ahead Of Marathon Road Trip