The top seeded team in the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs completed the first of their Post Season goals on Monday night; proving to themselves and the rest of the Association that they would not suffer the same fate as last year’s edition, when the number one-seeded Spurs were upset in the first round by the eighth seeded Memphis Grizzlies. The Spurs not only took their opening Playoff series against the Utah Jazz, they won the match-up in four-straight contests, finishing off their opponents at the Energy Solutions Arena by a final score of 87-81.
San Antonio had control of the game for most of the contest and entered the final 12 minutes of action on top by ten points. The Jazz went on an 11-0 run late in the fourth to cut their deficit to four points, as Al Jefferson drove the lane putting the rock through the hole with 49 seconds left in the game. That would be as close as Utah could bridge the gap however, as the Spurs took the game and the series.
Manu Ginobili came off the bench for San Antonio to lead his team with 17 points in the game while Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Gary Neal all chipped in 11 points each in the victory. Al Jefferson racked up a double-double with a game high 26 ponts while Devin Harris added 19 points for Utah in the contest.
It became apparent that this would be a low scoring contest in the opening period, as neither team looked impressive on the offensive end. Neal completed a layup with one second left in the first and the Spurs held a 22-19 edge at the end of the quarter. San Antonio would hold a double-digit advantage for most of the second; but they would settle for being on top 50-42, as the game reached the half.
After trailing once again by double-figures early in the third, Utah would get to within three points of their visitors with 3:17 remaining as Jefferson knocked down an outside jumper making it 61-58 contest. The Spurs would regain the momentum down the stretch and would hold the upper hand with the score 68-58 at the conclusion of the quarter.
Utah would make one last attempt to extend their Post Season as they would score 11 straight points to make it an 83-79 game, but they ran out of fuel and the Spurs held on for the victory. San Antonio will match-up against the victor of the series between Memphis and the Los Angeles Clippers in the next round. The Clippers lead that series by a 3-1 margin.