The Utah Jazz will be without star guard Donovan Mitchell when they travel to the Alamo City to face the suddenly hot San Antonio Spurs on Monday.
Mitchell with miss at least two games with a back strain he suffered in the first quarter of Utah’s win at home over Dallas on Saturday. He will stay in Salt Lake City to get treatment for his injury.
The Jazz head to San Antonio after their 120-116 victory over Dallas on Christmas Day. Mitchell led Utah with 33 points, his ninth 30-point game of the season. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 25 points, Mike Conley hit for 22, and Jordan Clarkson and Rudy Gobert added 12 and 10 points, respectively, in the victory.
Gobert also grabbed 11 rebounds for the Jazz, who have won three straight games and 11 of their past 13 outings over the past month. Utah dominated the COVID-compromised Mavericks, who just didn’t have the firepower to keep up late in the game. The Jazz have not lost a player to coronavirus this season.
“We didn’t play our best and got behind by 16 points, but this time we didn’t let it slip away,” Gobert said. “We’re getting better and maybe learning some lessons.”
The Jazz’s win over Dallas was slowed by a combined 72 free throw attempts, a high for the league this season.
“The frantic part of it was just us fouling, and I thought that really hurt us, particularly in the first quarter, because it slows the game down,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said after the win. “It allows (the opponent) to change defenses and then we’re not able to play it at a pace that we want.”
The Spurs are playing the second game of a home back-to-back that began with an easy 144-109 win over the hapless Detroit Pistons on Sunday. San Antonio produced a near-perfect first half and dominating victory despite playing without Dejounte Murray, who missed the game because of health and safety protocols.
Keldon Johnson matched his season high of 27 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the floor in the win while Jock Landale added a career-best 18 points, Jakob Poeltl hit for 14, Doug McDermott scored 13 points and Keita Bates-Diop tallied 10.
Tre Jones recorded 11 assists and Derrick White had 10 assists (both career-highs) for the Spurs, who recorded a season-high in points and assists (39). Jones said the team had to pull together with the absence of Murray, who will be out for an undetermined amount of time.
“(Murray) is our leader, he’s our point guard and he makes us go,” Jones explained. “So there’s always gonna be a big shakeup when you lose someone who brings so much to the team and does so much for us.
“But we know that it’s been a crazy year. It’s a crazy, crazy season. And we got to be prepared for anything. We all got to rally together, and we’ve all got to take it upon ourselves to do a little more to try to help our team get some more wins.”
San Antonio has won a season-best three straight games and four of its past five, a successful streak that tipped off with a 128-126 win in Salt Lake City over the Jazz on Dec. 17.
The Spurs’ 38-point first quarter and 40-point second quarter were season highs in their respective periods as were the 78 first-half points and the 24-point lead at halftime. San Antonio has had only six games in franchise history with more points in the first half.
–Field Level Media