Spurs Beat Jazz, Clinch Top Seed in West
San Antonio 115, Utah 82
SAN ANTONIO, April 17 (Ticker) -- Behind balance and bench production, the San Antonio Spurs became the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
Manu Ginobili scored 18 points and Tim Duncan and Brent Barry added 16 apiece as the Spurs took control early to cruise to a 115-82 victory over the Utah Jazz and clinch the top spot in the West.
"Our bench production was strong tonight," Horry said. "We're going to need more from guys like Brent and myself as we progress through the playoffs. It's tough getting to 62 wins. There are a lot of good teams out there. These guys are hard-nosed and they want to go out there and play their best."
"With home-court advantage, we are in a spot that we want to be in," Duncan said. "We are going to do what we can with it. We had a good season. We had some rough patches, but those are the times that we come together and solidify ourselves as a team. Health is the most important thing for us. I am feeling good right now and with that in mind we are really coming together as we head into the playoffs."
The Spurs seized control of the contest in the first half as they made 23-of-41 (56 percent) shots - including 9-of-14 from the arc - en route to a 55-38 advantage at the break.
"I thought the guys did a really good job of finding the open person and getting the open shot," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We played good team defense. It was good to see Nick and Beno getting in rhythm at the point and Manu is feeling good about his game."
After three quarters, the defending NBA champions owned an 85-66 lead but showed no signs of letting up as they scored the first 12 points of the final period for a 97-66 bulge with 9:15 to go. Overall, the Spurs produced a 16-0 run to bridge the third and fourth quarters, capped on a basket by Barry to seal the win early.
"Nobody is going to turn down home court," Popovich said. "I think I've said that about a thousand times over the years. Nobody is going to give up that opportunity, but it doesn't ensure anything. We've had it before and got knocked out. It's not a sure bet."
Rookie Deron Williams scored 18 points and Mehmet Okur added 17 on 7-of-9 shooting for the Jazz, who were eliminated from postseason play after falling to the Mavericks, 111-95, on Sunday.