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The Spurs evolution is what the Jazz want to duplicate -- Game Preview

San Antonio Spurs (34-21) @ Utah Jazz (20-34)
EnergySolutions Arena • Salt Lake City, UT
7:00 p.m. (MT) • TV: ROOT Sports • Radio: 1280 AM / 97.5 FM

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz tip off at home against the San Antonio Spurs tonight, and really, it's an interesting game for so many reasons. It's the Jazz going up against the franchise they want to emulate. It's the reunion of Dennis Lindsey and Quin Snyder with a team they spend some good times with. It's Frenchmen Tony Parker and Boris Diaw getting to connect with Rudy Gobert. It's Aussies like Joe Ingles and Dante Exum getting to spend time with Patty Mills and Aron Baynes. It's a team that's been to the top of the mountain playing a team that is trying to build an identity for themselves.

It's also a Jazz team that's 55-30 against the Spurs trying to get another win. These two teams have played each other twice so far this season. The Jazz won the first won 100-96 in Utah back in December. In San Antonio the bad guys got us back 89-69 in January. This game tonight is the rubber match, and the Jazz have lost four straight season series to the Spurs. If Utah wins tonight, as unlikely as the tale of the tape shows, it will be yet another feather in the cap of our guys like Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors.

The Jazz and Spurs do have a relationship, but the history hasn't always been so chummy. The last time the Jazz made the playoffs was back in 2011-2012. The Spurs made quick work of the Jazz. Since that time the Jazz have been in the lotto every single year. The Spurs did not win the title that year, only making it to the second round; but they went and lost in the Finals the next season; and then won the title the season after. In the years since the meeting these two teams' fortunes have only distanced themselves from one another.

But the Spurs can't be great forever. All empires must fall. San Antone is not likely to crumble if they lose tonight. Their best players this season are still a very interesting mix of ages. Tim Duncan is 38, Manu Ginobili is 37. Tony Parker and Boris Diaw are both 32, and support players like Tiago Splitter, Marco Belinelli, and Danny Green are all between 27 and 30 years old. They are GROWING talent there too, Kawhi Leonard, Cory Joseph, and Kyle Anderson are all 23 and younger. You have to love how this team has stayed a contender for so long -- and the game they used to play with Sean Elliott and David Robinson isn't the one they play now.

The Spurs are evolution. And the Jazz want most to be like the Spurs because of their increased adaptability and survivability. If you can reproduce good results regardless of the circumstance you become prolific. And that's precisely what our guys are trying to do.

The Jazz are not the same Jazz they were back when they got swept out of the playoffs. This is a team that plays defense. This is a team that wins on the road. This is a team that beats the good and great times more than they should. This is a franchise trying to reproduce good results regardless of the circumstances. This is a team that has a chance to go for 30+ wins when Alec Burks has been shelved. A team that's winning while starting two rookies -- and none of them have been spectacular.

We figure out now why the Spurs are good. We have a very long while to go before we know if our Jazz are like the Spurs. But tonight is a great place to start.