Mason, Spurs flatten JazzNov 22, 2008 - 4:45 AM By Brian Guerra PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Roger Mason, Jr. scored a season-high 29 points as the San Antonio Spurs coasted to a 119-94 victory over the undermanned Utah Jazz on Friday.
In the third quarter, San Antonio outscored Utah, 34-18, turning a six-point lead into a blowout. Mason, who scored 15 in the quarter, tested his luck by nailing a long 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 95-71 edge.
"He's a very aggressive player and a very underrated player," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "I thought he was excellent at both ends tonight. I think when we get everybody back, he will give us the depth that we've been looking for."
Rookie George Hill came off the bench to spark San Antonio with 17 first-half points, including 10 in the first quarter.
"I feel like I'm getting better every day, and tonight I got in a little groove," Hill said.
Hill, who is seeing increased minutes with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili sidelined, finished with a career-high 23 points.
"He's a very mentally tough young man, and he's learning like a sponge," Popovich said. "He's figuring out the position and starting to see how the game is played."
Utah led 20-11 with 4:50 left in the first quarter, but the Spurs stormed back behind 3-point shooting to take a 29-24 lead heading into the second. They never trailed again.
"We were able to get on a roll early, and then keep it going," said Mason, who learned he was starting only minutes before the game.
It was the most productive San Antonio's offense has been for 48 minutes. The Spurs led 61-53 at halftime, a season high for first-half points, and their final total was second only to a double-overtime victory over Minnesota on November 5.
"That's not exactly our game, shooting that well every single night," Popovich said. "But it was sure nice to see that."
Utah coach Jerry Sloan was disappointed with his team's energy level.
"The Spurs came out to destroy us, and they did a good job of doing it. We didn't stand up to them, and that's what we've got to do. It's kind of disheartening," Sloan said.
The win boosted the Spurs to 6-6, while the Jazz fell to 8-5, with all their losses coming on the road.
"I don't know how to explain it," C.J. Miles said. "I don't know if guys are timid because this is a big game on the road or what. I don't know what it is."
Sloan also expressed concerned about his team's effort away from Utah.
"They get paid to play on the road the same as they do at home, and we didn't come out with any energy as far as I was concerned," Sloan said.
Utah was without point guard Deron Williams - who has missed most of the last month with a sprained left ankle - and leading scorer Carlos Boozer, who suffered a strained left quadriceps tendon late in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's victory over Milwaukee.
Ronnie Brewer scored 17 points to lead the Jazz, who have not won in San Antonio in nearly 10 years. Miles added 16 points and 10 rebounds.
San Antonio hit 8-of-11 from behind the arc in the first half.
Tim Duncan added 18 points and seven rebounds for the Spurs, who were able to outscore the Jazz, 21-10, in second-chance points.
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