Kyle Korver shines in return to Utah as Jazz sink Spurs
SALT LAKE CITY — Kyle Korver is back, and suddenly the Utah Jazz are sinking shots.
“His confidence is contagious,” Donovan Mitchell said. “His presence just gives us spacing and helps everybody.”
Mitchell scored 20 points, Rudy Gobert had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the Utah Jazz beat the San Antonio Spurs 139-105 on Tuesday night.
Korver scored 15 points in his first home game since he returned to the Jazz, and Derrick Favors added 14 points as Utah won for the first time at home in nearly a month. The Jazz beat Boston 123-115 on Nov. 9 but have been on the road much of the season and haven’t found a rhythm at home.
“He gets his shot off in a half a second. It helps us to have another guy who can really space the floor and knock them down,” said Joe Ingles, who had 13 points.
Jakob Poeltl scored a career-high 20 points for the Spurs. DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge each scored 16 points, and San Antonio fell to 1-13 when Aldridge fails to reach the 20-point mark.
“It doesn’t really matter,” Poeltl said. “If I get a career high in a 30-point loss or whatever, it doesn’t feel great. We’re just not aggressive enough. We’re very passive.”
The Spurs lost by more than 30 points just five times in Gregg Popovich’s first 1,758 regular-season games as head coach. It has now happened three times in the last four games.
“We’re very challenged defensively,” Popovich said.
The Spurs cut their deficit to 67-53 early in the third quarter, but less than three minutes later, Mitchell and Ingles hit back-to-back 3-pointers and the Jazz moved out to an 84-59 advantage.
The Jazz haven’t been cashing in on their 3-point chances this season until recently.
Utah traded Alec Burks and two second-round draft picks to Cleveland for Korver, who made his first home appearance to a loud ovation. Korver, who played for the Jazz from 2007-10, shot 3 of 4 from beyond the arc and scored 15 points in 15 minutes.
“It was a great first night back. I have a lot of good memories of this place,” Korver said. “We played really good basketball. The ball was moving. We were playing for each other.”
Utah had season bests in shooting from inside (60.7 percent) and outside the arc (60.6 percent) as they scored 139 points for the first time this season.
The Jazz improved to 3-6 at home. No team has played as many road games as the Jazz, who have gone 9-7 away from Salt Lake City.
RUDY IS JUST FINE
The NBA fined Gobert $15,000 for publicly criticizing the officiating after his team’s 102-100 loss to the Heat on Sunday in Miami.
Gobert fouled Heat guard Dwyane Wade with 3.2 seconds left in the game, and the guard’s two free throws gave Miami the win.
“I just want it to be consistent at one point. … If you call something one way, you have to call it the other way,” Gobert said after the loss.
Before the game against the Spurs, Utah coach Quin Snyder offered to split the fine with his center — just this once.
Spurs: The lack of aggressiveness showed as the Spurs attempted only six free throws through three quarters. … Poeltl, who played collegiately at Utah, made his first six field goal attempts. … The Spurs managed just two fast-break points to Utah’s 13.
Jazz: In the third quarter, Ingles tried to lob a pass to Gobert and swished it from 22 feet. “That was pure luck,” Ingles said. … Utah had 38 assists on 51 baskets. … The Jazz went 17 for 20 from the free-throw line, their best mark since the third game of the season and they tied a season high with 12 steals.
Spurs: Visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.
Jazz: Host the Houston Rockets on Thursday.