NBA Summer League 2014: Utah Jazz defeated in upset loss to lower seed San Antonio Spurs, 86-77

"I am almost 30, why am I still playing summer league?" - Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The battle of the titans. But one team won -- the Spurs, 86-77.

Game 2 of the second round of the Las Vegas Summer league is serious business. Or at least that's what watching this game would have us believe as the Utah Jazz hosted the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs won last night against the struggling Milwaukee Bucks for the right to play here -- and the Jazz dominated their last two opponents to get the first round bye. So how did this knock out / drag out game go?

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First Quarter:

It is amazing to me that the San Antonio Spurs can get their summer league team to play just like their NBA team. The only difference here is that, well, this is still a summer league game so there were a bunch of turn overs. For the Utah Jazz, they went to Rudy Gobert early. He drained two free throws, and made a nice back to the basket layup. The Jazz offense was diversified, yet predictable. It was basically one guy (either Trey Burke, Dante Exum, or Rodney Hood) getting a screen or trying to play pick and roll, and then taking a shot -- for Rudy Gobert to try to bail everyone out with a tip in or something. The Spurs have a great defense, but Utah was able to solve it early and often with dribble penetration.

Fouls are serious in the tournament games, and both Malcolm Thomas and the Spurs Kyle Anderson had to sit pretty early. This meant more time early for Erik Murphy, which no one wants. But thankfully, Rudy Gobert was ready to play. He is quite good at moving without the ball / cutting to the basket now, he got a lot of nice looks at the rim. He had a tremendous two handed dunk / and one at the 3:38 mark of the first, but could not make the free throw.

He did reject a guy at the rim on the very next play but Vander Blue did a Karl Malone style clear and got him in the forehead with his wrist. But with the up and down game a guy like Dante Exum got a chance to get a little space on the floor -- h immediately almost crushed a two hander on a one of 3 breaks. Sheesh. He did get fouled though.

With 3:15 in the first Gobert went out to get some attention from Brian Zettler for his possible laceration under his right eye (from Blue).

San Antonio didn't go away, they are the Spurs, after all. After shoulder checking Dante, they were awarded a defensive three second FT, and Blue hit the FT to trim the Jazz lead to three. Vander Blue then just drove to the basket and got to the line for more free throws, where he made both. Jazz lead down to one, with 1:44 in the quarter. So, obviously, Niels Giffey to the rescue as he took his man off the dribble and scored. This is our team now, I guess.

It was a rough quarter for Dante, hitting the ground a few times, guys getting some meat on him with fouls, and missing two three pointers -- the last one was an air ball. He also went 2/4 from the FT line in the quarter. He had the most amazing pass that of course, went to Brock Motum, and then out of bounds. The next play Erik Murphy got an offensive fouls, and the Spurs got the ball back with 2.3 seconds -- and Austin Daye just barely missed a three.

Score: 17-16 Jazz. (+1 for the quarter)

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Second Quarter:

The Jazz had a 12-2 points in the paint advantage in the first quarter, and I think we know where the Jazz need to go in the second. So where did they go? Right to a Brock Motum three pointer -- which OF COURSE -- Gobert got position to rebound, but he was fouled in the process. Then Trey Burke took a three. So, yeah. Good game plan.

Anything that wasn't a pick and roll looked bad early on, yet somehow the Jazz were holding onto the lead.

Key point was at the 7:59 mark of the second, after Gobert won a jump ball, Rodney Hood pump faked Kyle Anderson into his 3rd foul of the game. He made both freebies. We need more of that. Utah picked up the defensive pressure and extended the lead to 5, and the Spurs had to take a time out after a Burke steal and dish to Hood.

It was very nice to see our team ATTACK after a turn over, and not walk it up to try to post up Rudy on the left block and stand around picking our collective noses.

After the TO, the Spurs didn't get any better. Austin Daye got to the line, but Gobert and Burke started to step it up on defense and offense. Trey completed a lay-up and-one, and Rudy continues to be magic around the basket.Spurs did not have the size to deal with Gobert -- but he picked up his third foul at the 4:33 mark. Yikes. Jazz were up by 8, keep this in mind.

Accurate.

But good news finally came, as Trey hit a three pointer. Before that I think BOTH teams were oh for 20 from outside. But the bad news is that broke the seal, and Austin Daye hit two threes and the Spurs too the lead 33-31. But  wait, there's more! Rodney Hood then hit a three, to give the Jazz the lead again, 34-33 with 51 seconds left in the half.

The two teams continued to trade baskets until Malcolm Thomas blocked Austin Daye 's shot, and the Jazz had the ball for the final play. Trey called his own number after getting in the lane, and missed.

Both of these teams scored a lot of points in the first three games, but this one is a grinder so far. Hood had 11 points (4/7, 1/2, 2/2) and 4 rebounds for the Jazz. Gobert had 10 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block, and was a +10 in +/- on the floor. In a one point game that's huge. Dante and Trey are a combined 3 / 13 shooting so far, and 1 for 5 from deep. Trey does have 8 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals at the half. For the Spurs it's the Austin Daye show, as he has 12 points off of 11 shots. Deshaun Thomas has 11 points as well.

Score: 36-35 Jazz (+0 for the quarter)

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Third Quarter:

To start the third the Spurs started to run a few back cuts, and got to the line as our defense was slow to react. They tied the game on a free throw, and then made two layups. Utah responded right back by taking jump shots and turn overs. Spurs up 40-36 with 8:52 left. By the 7:21 mark the Jazz had to burn a time out as the Spurs, on a 9-0 run, pushed the lead to 44;36. Yeesh. This is what happens when Gobert is in foul trouble.

Out of the time out Trey hit a jumper. The Jazz got a team rebound on the other end, and then Trey found Thomas for a good luck, but he missed, but Spurs mishandled it, and it was Jazz ball again. Trey then found Exum for an open three, he missed. Thomas and Motum crashed the glass, and on the second tip it went in. Jazz now only down by 4.

Despite our best efforts, the Spurs kept drawing fouls, almost on every play. Vander Blue, in particular, sucks. He's good, he's killing us. And as a result, he sucks.Rock'em-Sock'em Mot'um got another put back and the Jazz cut the Spurs lead to 1, and then another Jazz trap forced the Spurs to call a time out with 2:14 left in the quarter. Out of the time out the Jazz forced a travel. The Jazz continued to hustle, thanks mainly to Motum.

Ian Clark (remember him?) hit a nice floater and the Jazz re-took the lead with 1:08 to play. Motum then had a nice give and go with Erik Murphy, and Murph finished the layup, putting the Jazz up by 3. Blue came back and got a discontinued layup, and that was the quarter.

I liked how the Jazz fought back to tie the Spurs in this quarter, after being on the ropes a few times.

Score: 54-53 Jazz (+0 in the quarter)

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Fourth Quarter:

Murphy started the fourth with a nice three point brick. Good to see him being consistent. The Jazz and Spurs traded points for a bit in the fourth in this close game. Murphy picked up two quick fouls and had to sit at the 8:00 mark, with the Spurs up by 1, going to the line for two more. The Jazz were being more physical on their screens though, so you like that aggressiveness. But, of course, more fouls being called against the Jazz.

Gobert then had to with with 7:20 left in the fourth, after collecting his fifth foul. Yikes.

And THEN Ian Clark was called for a foul. Seriously, refs?

We need a hero, so guess what happens? Hood scores a layup, Clark hits Thomas for one next, and our offense started to get online. Of course, Kyle Anderson started to get going as well. Then the shots started flying, the threes were going down; and yes, we started to have a game ladies and gentlemen.

The Spurs re-took the lead with a Jamychal Green put back. Hood answered with the Memo fake three, then drive move. San Antonio was working the offensive glass and the Jazz had to put Gobert back in the game to lay down the law of the jungle with less than three minutes to go in this game.

Burke tied the game on a layup, and Daye replied with another jumper. A number of guys are in foul trouble right now about, and Hood got to the line with 2:02 mins left and tied it again after hitting both.

After Darius Morris hit a close shot, Burke passed it to Exum with 1:45 left in the game, but Exum didn't know that the pass was coming. Ouch. Kyle Anderson then drew a foul on the other end, with 1:33 left. This is crunch time! Spurs up by 4, and Burke misses a three. Then all kinds of bedlam happens.

The Jazz ended up giving the Spurs 33 points in this quarter, and pissed away the win with turn overs, fouls, and poor three point shooting. What else is new?

Score: 86-77 Spurs (-10 in the quarter)

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Overall performance:

The Jazz looked okay, but fell apart at the end. The Spurs stayed into the game by getting fouls, getting to the line. And they took some level of control when the Jazz were in foul trouble and our bigs had to sit. They pounded the glass and got many opportunities down the stretch. At times we looked like a team of rookie and soph players. At times we looked like a team with a lot of potential. At the end of the night, the guy going into his 6th year in the league led his team to a big W.

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Individual standouts:

  • Rodney Hood -- 19 pts, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, he went 4/4 from the line, created his own shot, drove, and went 7/11 from the field. He was the guy who played big when we needed it.
  • Rudy Gobert -- 12 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block, when he was in the game he was useful. But after cooling down due to foul trouble he never got back on track. And the team seemed to never go back to him either.
  • Brock Motum -- 14 points and 8 rebounds, all essentially on hustle plays.
  • Trey Burke -- 12 points, 3 assists, 2 steals, but it took him 18 shots to get those 12 points. Went 1/6 from outside.
  • Dante Exum -- 5 points, 2 assists, 2 steals, and he went 1/5 from outside. He needed 8 shots for 5 points
  • Ian Clark -- With those two lead guys hurting you needed someone to step out from the PG/SG spot, he didn't get much burn, and made only one shot, in four tries. He missed all of his threes.
  • Austin Date -- For the Spurs the guy going into his 6th year in the league finished with 20 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals. He shot 5/15, but went 8/8 from the free throw line.

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What's next? The Jazz go into the "losers" / "Consolation" bracket and will play only one more game, I think. It will be tomorrow, and I don't know who against.

EDIT:

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