Leonard has 22 points, Spurs beat Jazz 118-81

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The Utah Jazz felt like the world was crashing on top of their heads. That's been happening to teams in San Antonio lately.

The Spurs led by as many as 46 points and never trailed in a 118-81 victory over Utah on Monday night to remain undefeated at home.

Kawhi Leonard had 22 points and LaMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker added 18 points each, but the team's starters exited midway through the third quarter with the Spurs firmly in control.

"I'll take blowouts, especially early in the season," Parker said. "The starters, we can rest. It's always great because it adds up. All the rest that we're getting right now will help come playoff time."

San Antonio is 21-5, the second-best start in franchise history, on the strength of a 13-0 home record and a league-leading defense.

The Spurs have held 13 of their past 14 opponents under 100 points and led by at least 20 points at the half in three of their last five games.

Coming off a 104-98 overtime loss at Oklahoma City on Sunday, Utah was playing its fifth game in seven nights and the fatigue was evident early.

"The sky kind of fell, but it happens," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "We had no juice, but that's the wrong team to play when you're out of gas. Their defense is terrific and they are a championship-level program."

Utah entered the game averaging 97.8 points per game but suffered season-lows for total points and with 36 first-half points. The Jazz matched a season low with 15 points in the first quarter only when Trey Burke hit a 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds remaining.

San Antonio thoroughly dominated the first half, shooting 56 percent from the field and holding a 26-14 advantage in rebounds.

"We played very well," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They had a tough night. They were in an overtime game (last night). We caught a break without any doubt, but you've still got to go play it and I thought our focus was good."

San Antonio shot 60 percent from the field after three quarters and finished at 56 percent. The Spurs had 24 assists on 42-for-75 shooting.

The team's good-to-great mantra was evident early as Boris Diaw and Patty Mills both passed up 3-pointers for a better shot. Danny Green missed an open 3-footer on the possession, but David West collected the rebound for a layup and a foul that led to a three-point play.

It was an unselfish pattern that kept Utah off balance all game.

Green gave up a fast-break layup with a couple of steps on two defenders to scoop the ball to a charging Leonard, who threw down a one-handed dunk that gave San Antonio a 76-43 lead with 7 minutes left in the third quarter. The Spurs extended that lead to 81-43 before beginning to empty their bench.

Derrick Favors led the Jazz with 16 points.


Popovich said he was not surprised, but obviously disappointed, by the homophobic slurs Sacramento point guard Rajon Rondo directed at Bill Kennedy during the Kings' loss to the Boston Celtics on Dec. 3. Kennedy officiated the Spurs' game Monday, a day after revealing he is gay.

"It's unfortunate," Popovich said of Rondo's comments. "It's disgusting, because Billy, he is a great guy. He's been a class act on and off the court. And as far as anyone's sexual orientation, it's just nobody's business. It just shows ignorance to act in a derogatory way toward anybody in the LGBT community. It just doesn't make sense."


Jazz: Utah's previous low for total points was 87 in a five-point loss to Detroit in its season opener. The Jazz's previous low for first-half points was 40. ... C Rudy Gobert missed his seventh straight game with a sprained left knee. Utah is 2-5 in those games. ... F Trey Lyles had two points and two rebounds in his eighth start of the season. He entered the game averaging 2.4 points and 2.9 rebounds.

Spurs: San Antonio's best start after 26 games came in 2011, when they opened 23-3 and rose to 25-3. ... All the Spurs scored and played at least 10 minutes. ... The 37-point victory was the Spurs' third win by 20-plus points in their last four games. The run began when San Antonio set a franchise record for largest victory in a 119-68 victory over Philadelphia on Dec. 7. The 51-point victory bested the 49-point margin against the Vancouver Grizzlies on Nov. 8, 1995.


Jazz: Host New Orleans on Wednesday night.

Spurs: Host Washington on Wednesday night.

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