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News » Spurs see cause for urgency in Utah


Spurs see cause for urgency in Utah


Spurs see cause for urgency in Utah SALT LAKE CITY - Tonight's game at EnergySolutions Arena is no mere NBA contest between the Spurs and the Utah Jazz.

This is Desperation vs. Humiliation, a test of emotions that will transcend wins and losses, Xs and Os.

After back-to-back homecourt losses to the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets, the Spurs head to the scene of one of their worst losses of the season with a sense their season has reached an early turning point.

The Jazz's motivation is much simpler. They need a victory over any team to erase the embarrassment of Saturday night's loss to Minnesota. The Timberwolves had won only two games before coming from 14 points down to beat a Jazz team that coach Jerry Sloan says didn't defend in the second half.

The Spurs , 9-8 after back-to-back losses, approach tonight's game with a fair amount of optimism. But they also understand that this revamped roster - one which many hoped would position them for a title run - needs to begin showing results, and soon.

"This stretch of games right here is really good for us," Spurs captain and leading scorer Tim Duncan said. "We need to turn a corner and learn things about ourselves and become a better team.

"I do believe we have it. It hasn't turned into any wins, but I think we have gotten better these last two or three games.

"Now we go up to Utah a little desperate. They are a team that has beaten us twice. Hopefully, we can bring that energy to get a win."

What keeps Duncan and the Spurs' coaches relatively assured a turnaround is coming is that their defensive effort has been effective, even against the Nuggets. Denver scored 106 points but failed to reach its league-leading season average of 110.6 points per game.

The Spurs yielded 34 points to Carmelo Anthony, the NBA's top scorer, and Popovich called Anthony's eight fourth-quarter points a symptom of the occasional confusion his new players sometimes experience.

"He's a great player and he's leading the league in scoring," Popovich said, "but I saw some situations in the fourth quarter where we were late getting to him, and that showed a lack of executing with guys that are trying to learn the system.

"We have to keep working at it. That's what it's all about."

Nevertheless, Popovich sees the potential for the Spurs to be a better defensive unit than he has put on the floor since winning the 2007 NBA title.

"As far as trying to be as good a defensive team as Boston has been the last couple of years, that's a team deal," he said. "The team has to get that. Other guys, like (DeJuan) Blair, (Antonio) McDyess or (Richard) Jefferson are learning what we want to do, but I think we can be a better defensive team, with this group, than we have been for the last two or three years, without a doubt.

"In time, of course."

For Tony Parker, the time is now.

"We keep saying we have a lot of new guys," Parker said. "We just need to play better. That's it."


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 8, 2009

 

 
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