Splitter, Leonard lead Spurs to 89-69 win over Jazz
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Tiago Splitter scored 14 points, Kawhi Leonard had 12 points and nine rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs never trailed while holding Utah to a season-low scoring total in an 89-69 victory over the Jazz on Sunday night.
Tim Duncan added 11 points in 23 minutes for San Antonio, which has won three straight - including the last two with Leonard back in the lineup.
Rudy Gobert had 13 points and a season-high 18 rebounds and Gordon Hayward added 10 points for Utah. The Jazz shot 33 percent while also setting season lows in points by a San Antonio opponent for the game and in the first half (27).
Utah beat San Antonio 100-96 on Dec. 9 in a game that Leonard initially injured his right hand, suffering a small tear to a ligament while bracing his fall following a failed dunk attempt.
Leonard gave the Spurs another scare Sunday when he remained down for about 45 seconds after tumbling to the floor following a hard foul by Gobert with 9:14 left in the first half. Leonard flexed and gripped his right hand but remained in the game and showed no further aggravation while shooting 4 for 11 from the field.
The Spurs used quick successive passes to score eight of their first 12 points in the paint against a Jazz team that was averaging 5.8 blocks per game.
Tony Parker wrapped a bounce pass around Enes Kanter toward the basket for a cutting Splitter, who avoided a charging defender by passing to Duncan for an open layup.
After the starting unit established a presence inside, San Antonio's reserves were 3 for 5 on 3-pointers.
After struggling to retain its halftime lead in its previous home games, San Antonio increased their advantage to 19 points in the third quarter.
The sizable lead enabled the Spurs to limit veterans Duncan, Parker and Manu Ginobili to less than 24 minutes.
Jazz: Utah's previous season low in points was 82, which it had in three games, most recently in a loss to Houston on Jan. 10. ... Gobert is leading the league in blocks at 4.3 per game. ... Jazz coach Quin Snyder coached San Antonio's D-League affiliate in Austin from 2007-10. He was also an assistant with CSKA Moscow in 2013 under Ettore Messina, who is in his first season as an assistant with the Spurs. ... F Derrick Favors was averaging 20.7 points and 10.2 rebounds in his previous six games, but was held to nine points and 13 rebounds Sunday. ... The Jazz's last win in San Antonio was Jan. 20, 2010.
Spurs: The Spurs signed F JaMychal Green to a 10-day contract Sunday after waiving F Austin Daye a day earlier. Green led San Antonio's D-League affiliate, the Austin Toros, in scoring (23.0) and rebounding (10.9). ... Patty Mills spoke before the game, honoring the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ... The previous low for points in a first half against the Spurs was 28 by New Orleans on Dec. 31.
Jazz: At Cleveland on Wednesday.
Spurs: At Denver on Tuesday.