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SALT LAKE CITY -- Tim Duncan became the Spurs' all-time leading scorer and San Antonio halted a comeback attempt from the Jazz in the second half to claim a 94-82 win Friday night in Salt Lake City.
One game prior to the Spurs' trip to EnergySolutions Arena, Duncan boosted himself to within 13 points of his newly-acquired title as he notched 16 points, five steals and a season-high 18 rebounds in the Spurs' 103-94 win over Chicago.
It was a great win for us...and great to get that kind of milestone behind me.
Duncan began his final climb to the top of San Antonio's record books by tallying eight first half points on a lackadaisical Utah defense that also allowed the 13-year pro eight rebounds before the break.
Duncan inched closer to his record-breaking mark with three made free throws and an 8-foot jumper midway through the third quarter before taking a 2 of 2 trip to the free throw line to top David Robinson in Spurs' history.
"It was a great win for us. It wasn't particularly pretty, kind of ups and downs, but great defensively and great to get that kind of milestone behind me," Duncan said.
The call that sent Duncan to the line for his 12th and 13th points of the night was one of many in the third quarter that came with sighs of frustration from the Jazz. Before the quarter ended, the Jazz were called for 11 fouls, sending the Spurs to the line 14 times while they attempted to attack the basket themselves and get some momentum rolling before their Western Conference foe slipped away for good.
(The Spurs) know their job. They know that they have a game plan, and they go out and execute it.
Deron Williams' reputation for putting an emphasis on aggressive attacks to the hole when the Jazz are suffering took over the game in the third quarter as he drove hard at San Antonio's defense, earning three trips to the line and hitting 3 of 8 from the floor for nine points. The crowd-lifting push wiped away the remains of Utah's once 15-point deficit as the Jazz leveled with the Spurs 68-68 just eight seconds before the end of the quarter, but the Jazz were unable to maintain their breaking stride and let the game fall out of their control in the fourth.
"I've always...wished we could model ourselves after the Spurs and what they do, of course with our kind of flare," Williams said. "They know their job. They know that they have a game plan, and they go out and execute it."
Duncan said while the win didn't mark the Spurs' best performance of the season, the final quarter marked the way they like to play in Salt Lake City.
"It was just about coming out in that fourth quarter, that first five minutes, and trying to jump on them, trying to make some shots and get a little bit of a lead," Duncan said. "Playing in this building, getting down to the fourth quarter in a close game; you don't want that ‘cause things can go either way."
Against Utah, it's always about matching up their intensity. We did today.
The Spurs outscored the Jazz 24-14 in the fourth quarter, matching their first quarter advantage, and dropped Utah's home record to 3-3.
"Against Utah, it's always about matching up their intensity. We did today," Manu Ginobili said. "We made a lot of mistakes, of course, but they did too, and we played better in the fourth."
Duncan ended the night with 19 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and three blocks, pushing his total career points to 20,797.