By LYNN DeBRUIN, Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Tony Parker scored 27 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Utah Jazz 102-90 Saturday night to take a 3-0 lead in their first-round Western Conference playoff series.
No NBA team has ever overcome an 0-3 deficit to win a best-of-seven series. The Spurs can close it out Monday night in Salt Lake City.
Al Jefferson and Devin Harris scored 21 apiece for Utah, while Derrick Favors added 15 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks in his most extensive action of the series.
The Jazz trailed by as many as 13 in the fourth quarter but cut it to five only to see Parker take charge. He made all five field goals and all six free throws in the final frame.
Despite the dire situation, the Jazz showed there is a promising future, with a young lineup in the fourth quarter leading the rally after Utah trailed by as many as 13.
DeMarre Carroll scored on a putback, rookie Alec Burks sank a pair of free throws and Favors scored after grabbing another offensive rebound to get Utah within 81-74 with 5:58 remaining.
Favors then hit a 7-footer to make it a five-point game.
Experience took over.
Parker hit a running jumper, and Matt Bonner blocked Favors to set up Stephen Jackson's fast-break layup.
Parker's jumper with 6:08 left bumped the Spurs lead back to 10 points, and Tiago Splitter's rebound set up a 3-pointer by Parker that put San Antonio up 11.
"We needed to get this one because we know they're not going to give up, especially in this building," said Danny Green, who finished with 14 points, including a block and fast-break layup that helped seal the game midway through the fourth.
"I thought Tiago was huge for us," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich added. "When Favors was giving us trouble, he made shots, got the boards and then scored a bunch during the most important time of the game."
The last time the two teams met in the postseason, in the 2007 Western Conference finals, the Spurs went on to win the NBA title.
San Antonio, with coach of the Year Popovich, its Big 3 and collection of castoffs, foreigners and rookies, looks intent on doing the same.
The Spurs won the first two games by 46 points combined, but figured Saturday's would be the toughest of the series.
They were right.
Harris, after scoring just 12 points combined in the first two games, had 12 in the first quarter, his 3-pointer with 2:21 left giving Utah a 23-22 lead.
Utah's Tyrone Corbin, still looking for his postseason coaching victory, tried several different approaches Saturday.
He put 6-8 swingman Gordon Hayward on All-Star point guard Parker, who was just 5 of 12 for 11 points through three quarters.
And Corbin went to his Big 3 lineup early and often.
Corbin had said he wanted Favors to play more, and Favors showed why he deserves more minutes.
He blocked Splitter's jam attempt early in the second quarter then scored on a putback that gave Utah a 41-40 lead. He followed with a 9-foot turnaround jumper over DeJuan Blair, and then grabbed his own miss and drew the foul from Duncan. He made one of two free throws for a 44-42 Jazz lead.
In 16 minutes in the first half, Favors had seven points and seven rebounds.
Still the Spurs led 52-50. Bonner's only basket of the half, a 3-pointer at the buzzer after the Jazz had let the shot clock run out on the previous possession, gave San Antonio a 52-50 lead at the break.
Harris' third 3-pointer gave Utah a 58-56 lead. But the Spurs went on a 10-2 run, fueled by back-to-back 3-pointers by Green and Jackson, to surge ahead 66-60.
NOTES: Jazz Hall of Famers Jerry Sloan and John Stockton were in attendance Saturday ... The Spurs outscored Utah 18-2 in the paint in the first quarter and shot 60 percent (12 of 20). ... Game 4 will tip at 6 p.m. MT on Monday. ... The Jazz made just 8 of 16 free throws in the first half, with Paul Millsap and Favors both missing three. ... Manu Ginobili had six assists in the first half and finished with 10.
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