SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah Jazz almost erased a 27-point deficit before losing its preseason home opener to the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday night, 111-104.
San Antonio raced out to a 39-26 lead at the end of the first quarter, and fell behind 78-51 with seven minutes to play in the third quarter before mounting a furious rally.
When rookie center Walker Kessler threw home a dunk, the Jazz cut the deficit to 103-97 with 3:19 left. But San Antonio held on down the stretch, as the Jazz fell to 1-2 in the preseason.
Lauri Markkanen led Utah with 18 points and ten rebounds, while Jared Butler had 13 points off the bench. Kessler and Jordan Clarkson each scored 12 for the Jazz, who shot 40.8 percent from the field. Utah made just 11 of 42 three-pointers.
Clarkson led the Jazz with seven assists. Devin Vassell led all scorers with 24 points for the Spurs.
Utah will wrap up the preseason Friday night at home against Dallas, before opening the regular season October 19th at Vivint Arena against Denver.