source: Yahoo! Sports
SAN ANTONIO (AP)—Manu Ginobili got the San Antonio Spurs back on the winning track, and Gregg Popovich to the 800-win plateau.
Ginobili scored 23 points, 14 in the second quarter, to lead the Spurs to a 104-89 victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night. He was 9 of 10 from the field, including 5 of 6 from 3-point range.
Popovich is the 14th coach to reach 800 wins and ranks third among active coaches behind George Karl (1,038) and Rick Adelman (945).
“I don’t feel as old as you look,” Popovich said to one reporter when asked if reaching 800 wins equates to getting old. “Other than that, you get that number of wins, it does mean you’ve been hanging around for a while. And that you’ve got good staff and good players and a good management team. We’ve all achieved 800 wins, I haven’t really.”
Popovich, in his 16th year of coaching, is second on the career wins list for one team, behind Utah’s Jerry Sloan (1,127). Most of the victories have been with his Big Three: Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
“I don’t think the number itself is significant. The round number of 800,” Ginobili said. “It’s been 16 seasons of coaching great teams, coaching very well, making it to the finals, winning regular-season games and becoming with time, probably one of the most respected, for sure, coaches in the league. Very happy and proud of him. He’s my only coach in my NBA career. It’s a great thing.”
DeJuan Blair had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Parker added 14 points and Duncan 12 as San Antonio moved to 3-1.
Duncan continued to struggle to find his form. The 36-year-old forward followed up his 1-of-8 performance in Houston by going 4 of 13 from the field. He had nine rebounds.
Ginobili injected life to an offense that had gone cold in Thursday’s 105-85 loss to the Houston Rockets. He began the Spurs’ quick turnaround in the second period, scoring the first 11 points of the quarter. That propelled San Antonio on a 22-10 run that ended with Richard Jefferson hitting a 3-pointer with 5:26 left and gave the Spurs 17-point lead.
The Spurs were 7 of 8 from the 3-point line during the second period and 10 for 16 for the game ( 63 percent).
“In Houston, I couldn’t make one,” Ginobili said of his 3-point shooting. “Today it felt great. I’m not the kind of shooter that’s going to go 5-for-5 at the beginning. It just so happens that today was a different night. They were falling.”
Al Jefferson returned to the starting lineup for Utah, scoring 21 points with 11 rebounds in 35 minutes. Jefferson sat out Utah’s 102-99 win over Philadelphia on Friday night with an inflamed right ankle.
“It got to a point where I was running on it real well before the game,” Jefferson said. “That was when I made the decision to play.”
But Utah shot just 35 percent (18 of 51) from the field and had only 11 assists.
San Antonio never trailed and built its largest lead at 27 points on Blair’s basket with 9:52 left that made it 89-62.
“It wasn’t a great effort tonight,” said Utah coach Tyrone Corbin. “They made a run in the second quarter, we missed some rotations and they made some 3-point shots. We kind of lost it from there.”
Josh Howard, who flirted with signing with San Antonio earlier in the month before committing to the Jazz, had 18 points. Forward Derrick Favors, who had a career-high 20 points in his first career start Friday, only had seven.