Tony Parker scored 28 points and the San Antonio Spurs won their first playoff opener in four years, beating the Utah Jazz 106-91 in Game 1 of their first-round series Sunday.
Tim Duncan added 17 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Spurs dodge another early playoff letdown. Despite boasting the No. 1 seed again, San Antonio hadn’t won a Game 1 in its last six postseason series — including the one that began a shocking first-round ouster last year.
Paul Millsap led Utah with 20 points. The Jazz hung close until the third, when the NBA’s top 3-point shooting team began burying Utah with three in a two-minute burst to finish the quarter.
Gordon Hayward scored 17 points and Al Jefferson had 16 for the Jazz. It was Utah’s first playoff game without coach Jerry Sloan since 2008, but the younger Jazz couldn’t take advantage of their bigger frontcourt.
The Spurs hadn’t won a playoff opener since beating Phoenix in double-overtime in 2008. That was also around the last time that the Spurs entered the playoffs as healthy as they are now, though they didn’t leave this game entirely scot-free.
Center Tiago Splitter sprained his left wrist and didn’t return after scoring four points in 8 minutes. The severity of the injury wasn’t immediately known, but even with arguably the deepest Spurs team in the Duncan era, San Antonio would sorely miss their 7-footer.
–The Spurs have won 11 in a row. Game 2 is Wednesday in San Antonio.–
[via Associated Press]
Video: Tim Duncan gets his defender in the air and storms in the paint for the nasty throw down over Paul Millsap.
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