White, Poeltl lead Spurs past short-handed Jazz
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida— Jakob Poeltl knew the Utah Jazz were going to try to take away the perimeter.
So he took advantage of the interior scoring repeatedly on pick-and-roll and interior moves.
Derrick White scored 24 points, Poeltl added 19 points and 10 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs got a much-needed win over the short-handed Utah Jazz 119-111 on Friday.
“I was a little more aggressive,” Poeltl said. “We knew they were going to stay out with our shooters, so there was a little more room in the paint for me to move around. So I got going early today.”
Lonnie Walker and Rudy Gay both finished with 14 points for the Spurs, who moved into sole possession of 10th place in the Western Conference, a half-game ahead of surging Phoenix. The Suns are 4-0 since the NBA restart, but were idle Friday.
San Antonio got a huge lift in the third quarter from the 33-year-old Gay, who scored 10 points during one stretch to help open a 16-point lead.
Jordan Clarkson scored 24 points off the bench to lead the Jazz, while Tony Bradley had 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting and 11 rebounds.
Rudy Gobert (rest), Donovan Mitchell (left peroneal strain) and Mike Conley (right knee soreness) did not play for the Jazz, who were held to 41.8% shooting from the floor. Royce O’Neale (right calf soreness) and Nigel Williams-Goss (left ankle sprain) also sat out.
Clarkson said he may have tried to do too much with so many other players out.
“I was trying to be more aggressive and make plays for teammates,” he said. “At one point, I was playing too fast and aggressive and coach told me to trust the plays.”
But he said the experience the young players gained is important.
“It makes everybody pick their game up,” Clarkson said.
Added Jazz coach Quin Snyder: “They competed and that is our expectation for our whole group. For a player, every minute you are on a court matters.”
The Jazz fell a half-game behind Houston in the battle for fourth place in the West. The Rockets played the Lakers on Friday night.
Jazz: Joe Ingles played 16 minutes in the first half and finished with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field. He did not play in the second half as the Jazz just wanted to help him condition.
Spurs: Will play the Jazz again on Aug. 13
Utah’s Juwan Morgan injured his right knee after hauling in an offensive rebound with 2:32 left and was taken to the locker room.
“I thought there was a foul on the previous play and it wasn’t called,” Snyder said. “It was unfortunate. Any time you get a player who has worked his way into the rotation, to see him take an injury like that, it hurts. And it hurts for him. We are keeping our fingers crossed the praying he is OK.”
ON RACIAL INJUSTICE
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich spoke about racial injustice during his pregame press conference.
“A great amount of what we want to spend our time here (in Orlando) on is the great social injustices that are being experienced by our Black population,” Popovich said.
“And this moment in time, we all believe, is an opportunity to really emphasize this and try to make people learn more and understand more about why the movement is so important. There is no time to wait. It’s already been too long.”
Jazz: Play the Nuggets on Saturday.
Spurs: Play the Pelicans on Sunday.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.