Monday, March 4, 2024
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Vassell, Johnson help Spurs hold on to beat Jazz, 126-122

SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Devin Vassell had 24 points, Keldon Johnson added 21 points and the San Antonio Spurs fended off the Utah Jazz in the final minutes for a 126-122 victory on Monday night.

“We just stayed together. We persevered and came out on top,” Johnson said.

“I feel like they are a good team and good teams make runs. We withstood that run and won the game.”

The Spurs led 121-110 with 2 1/2 minutes remaining. The Jazz scored seven points in 33 seconds, but they could not complete the rally.

Jakob Poeltl added 16 points for San Antonio. Lauri Markkanen had 32 points and Jordan Clarkson added 25 points for Utah, which had won two straight. Clarkson’s three-pointer pulled Utah within 123-120 with 30.1 seconds remaining but Tre Jones tossed in a floater 23 seconds later as San Antonio snapped a two-game skid.

“I think we came into this year knowing we were going to be in a lot of close games,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. “We weren’t going to be a team necessarily that was built to blow people out, so we needed to be clutch in those situations.”

Utah Jazz’s Collin Sexton drives against San Antonio Spurs’ Tre Jones. PHOTO: AP

Jones, who finished with 11 points, made the Spurs’ final two field goal attempts.

The game started 40 minutes later than scheduled due to what the Spurs termed “a potential security threat, which has impacted fans entering the AT&T Center”.

“We were just about to run out of the tunnel to come out for warmups, but they told us to go back to the locker room,” Markkanen said.

The delay or a weekend holiday break for both teams likely contributed to a sluggish start that resulted in a combined 19 points in the opening six minutes.

Players and staff for both teams, stadium employees and a few thousand fans were already inside when a potential security threat was announced. No one was evacuated, but no more fans were allowed to enter for about half an hour.

Fans were allowed in again after law enforcement determined there was no threat.