SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns are probably going to go back and forth for the top seed in the Western Conference with seven games left in the regular season.
But the Jazz took the upper hand Monday night, leading from wire to wire against the San Antonio Spurs, pulling away for a 110-99 victory. Utah now leads Phoenix by a half game.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 25 points, while Rudy Gobert added 24 points and 15 rebounds as the Jazz won without its All-Star backcourt of Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley again.
Utah’s defense denied Spurs scoring opportunities at the rim and behind the three point line. San Antonio did not make its first layup until the final minute of the second quarter and the Spurs missed all seven 3-pointers they attempted before halftime.
“We tried to make them earn everything they got,” center Rudy Gobert said.
The Jazz earned their second straight victory with efficient offense and solid defense. Utah scored 22 points off 13 San Antonio turnovers and shot 50% from the field.
“It’s really important to us to get off to a good start,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “If it means making plays off our defense and getting easy opportunities, that’s even better.”
Bogdanovic led Utah in scoring on an efficient 10-17 from the field. Jordan Clarkson came off the bench and put up 16 points, six rebounds, and five assists. Joe Ingles started again for the Jazz as guards Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley remain out for the Jazz. In the start Ingles scored 13 points and dished out eight assists.
“When we play that way it’s really hard for the other team to play us because we have so many weapons,” Gobert said.
The Jazz scored on five straight possessions to carve out a 26-16 lead late in the first quarter. Clarkson and Bogdanovic each made back-to-back baskets to help Utah build a double-digit cushion.
San Antonio cut the deficit to 40-35 on a jumper from Gay in the second quarter. That’s as close as the Spurs got before Utah heated up again. The Jazz scored on six consecutive possessions to ignite a 17-4 run. Bogdanovic scored back-to-back baskets to start the run and punctuated it with a 3-pointer that gave Utah a 57-39 lead.
The Jazz led by as many as 25 points in the second half, going up 74-49 in the third quarter as they cruised down the stretch.
Joe Ingles had 13 points and nine assists, while Georges Niang added 11 points. Rookie Trent Forrest had his second straight solid performance off the bench with nine points, four rebounds and a steal. He also got the water bottle treatment from Mitchell, Conley and Royce O’Neale after the game.
DeMar DeRozan was the leading scorer for the Spurs, pouring in 22 points as San Antonio lost their fourth straight game.
The Jazz (47-18) and Spurs (31-33) will tip off again Wednesday night at Vivint Arena at 7:00 p.m.