What the Spurs and Jazz said after Saturday’s game

Here, courtesy of the crack transcribers and notetakers of the Spurs media services office, is a sampling of the post-game comments after the Spurs’ 111-102 victory over Utah Saturday night.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

“It was a good night. It’s always good night when you get a win, but we were able to get a good workout. Everybody played their minutes which we wanted to do tonight. Now we try to plan for next week.”

(On Richard Jefferson)

“I thought he and Tiago both were really aggressive. Richard caught it and shot it and caught it and drove it. He did a great job in that regard. That scoring really makes us different; it really takes a load off of everybody else.”

(On Tiago Splitter)

“Tiago is just that blue collar, steel worker sort of attitude. It’s like he’s right out of the steel mill; been working in there all his life and he knows what it’s like to work. He’s unbelievable.”

Tony Parker

“Great win for us. Everybody played well and I think we’ll see the same thing in the next two games, everybody getting a lot of minutes and at the same time, all the starters getting some rest. So I think it’s a great thing.”

(On if he was trying to get the ball to Richard Jefferson)

“Not really. He was open. Everybody was in the paint and that’s what they gave us tonight, the corner threes and Richard shot the ball well.”

(On Tiago Splitter’s play)

“He played great, very physical, a lot of energy. Pop gave him a lot of minutes and he played well, so hopefully he can keep it going the next two games and see what he can give us during the playoffs.”

(On if he got nervous when the lead got cut to six in the fourth quarter)

“Not really. I thought overall we controlled the game and I was not really worried.”

Tim Duncan

(On Tiago Splitter’s play)

“He played great. He got some very good minutes. I know he got tired, he was out there for a long time. He played great, played hard, great rebounding effort, and good to get those minutes and good experience right now.”

(On how the Spurs balance rest and staying in a rhythm for the playoffs)

“I think Pop is trying to do exactly what he’s doing right now. He’s trying to get us good minutes. We’re trying to win these games obviously, but we’re trying to play the right amount of minutes and make sure everyone’s healthy and fresh. We’re going to balance that time between winning games and being out there on the court.”

(On how his legs feel)

“I feel great. My ankle’s not 100 percent, but other than that, juice-wise I feel pretty good. I feel pretty energized.”

(On having the number one seed wrapped up with two games left)

“We should have had it wrapped up with a lot more games than that, but it’s good. It’s great for us to have that under our belts and we would have loved to do before that but honestly it was a good stretch for us to lose some games to be able to have to refocus and play a little harder coming down the stretch. It will serve us well come playoff time.”

(On if it’s important to finish ahead of Chicago)

“We’ve played this well all season long. We’d love to finish at the top of the NBA. We’re going to try to do the best of managing minutes, winning games, and all that stuff and try to do it all at the same time, so we’ll see what happens.”

(On Richard Jefferson’s play)

 “He’s played really well over the past couple games. He’s really starting to get into that playoff mode. That’s what we need from him. We need him to play hard, play well. He’s not only shooting the ball, but he’s driving the ball real well and getting people open. So we’re expecting a little more from him coming down the stretch.”

Richard Jefferson

(On what tonight did for his confidence)

“It was great. Coming into the season and especially down the stretch, teams haven’t been leaving me open or they’ve been trying to take away our 3-point shots and let our drivers beat them. Tonight, I was able to get a few up because of the way Utah played and thank God they went in.”

(On how much of an advantage it is to have homecourt advantage locked up)

“It’s an advantage but everyone in this organization has the big picture in mind. Dallas had home court and we were able to sneak one from them last year. You understand home court helps you a small percentage because the Lakers can win here, we’ve won in L.A., they’ve won here, and the playoffs are going to be no different.”

(On how much he pays attention to the eighth seed)

“That’s tough because it’s the same what happened last year going down to the last game. It could be one of three teams depending on who loses and tiebreakers so you try and focus at the top and to see what’s in front of you and then what’s behind you, you take whoever comes.”

Utah coach Tyrone Corbin

(On defense)

“This is a great ball club. They shot 58 percent for the game, and they shot sixty-something at the end of the third quarter. They made a lot of good shots. I thought our defensive effort was pretty good. The guys did a great job of rotating; we met the bigs early. They penetrated a little too much and struggled for a moment and then in the pick and rolls we pulled guys and made some shots. Our effort was good, but this is a good ball club; you make mistakes and they make shots against you. ”

(On the Spurs’ team effort in scoring)

“That’s who they are. They are a great ball club. They don’t care who leads them in scoring every night, as long as they win the game. They do a great job of sharing the ball. If one guy is struggling, they go to the next guy. They try to bring in the guy who is struggling, but they don’t wait for him. They play and get their teammates involved and do other things. They have Splitter come in and have five offensive rebounds at the end of the game. Jefferson is hitting big shots in the corner. Bonner also had shots falling. There is a lot to be learned from them.”

(On Utah’s comeback late in the game)

“Our effort was good. We did a pretty good job executing our offense on the offensive floor. We got some pretty good shots. We went inside and scored some points inside. We penetrated and shared the ball better than we have been in the past. We had 28-29 assists tonight, so I thought offensively we did a pretty good job executing ourselves. Defensively we had some break downs, but this is a pretty good ball club, and they shot well.”

(On Derrick Favors)

“His effort was good, especially on the offensive end. I think he did a good job of being poised. He shot one too many jump shots down there, but for the most part he put the ball on the floor and got to the basket. On the defensive end, he did a pretty decent job except for the end. The Spurs got a couple of rebounds on him on the offensive end that he should have been able to get, but he is learning and is getting better. I think the more time he gets on the floor and the more games he plays, he’ll get better.”

(On the message to the team)

“Continue to play. We played hard and made some mistakes at the end of the second quarter. They had a 9-0 run against us and we have to get better at finishing quarters. So, continue to play and learn your lessons now, so we can get better going forward.”

Al Jefferson

(On defending the Spurs’ “Big Three” tonight as well as other players off the bench)

“That’s simply how good their team is. You can maintain their “big three” but still have other guys on their team that beat you. That’s how good their offense is, that’s how good they move and share the ball as we made too many turnovers. I think at the end of the half we were down by two points as they [Spurs] went on a 9-0 run. At the end of this game, we had a chance as we were down eight but we gave up three offensive rebounds, so at the end we just made too many mistakes.”

(On if they take this game as a learning experience for next season)

“Yeah, you can say that. We just can’t make mistakes like that at the end of a game as you have to learn how to finish. For the most part, I felt we played well, we rotated well, I just think we should have rebounded better and not turned the ball over.”

(On the future lineup of Jefferson, Millsap and Favors) “

Yeah, I like that lineup. Paul [Millsap] at the three, Favors at the four, and me at the five as even the Spurs’ Tim Duncan and Richard Jefferson were even saying how good that big lineup was. Once Paul and Derrick get more comfortable playing with each other, we can be tough.”

Paul Millsap

(On how tough it was to contain the “Big Three,” along with the rest of the team)

“Yeah, they’re tough as I feel that is what makes their team so special. They have guys that can come off the bench and score the basketball. They truly play basketball out there as they move the ball well and that’s what makes them who they are.”

(On their poor performance in the second quarter)

“It’s tough, but it’s a learning process for us. Turning the ball over, taking bad shots, during crucial parts of the game, while they’re getting out and running. It’s a learning process for us as we are going to get better.”

(On being able to stay up with the Spurs through the fourth quarter)

“Yeah, that’s what we want to do. We want to be able to go out there, get better and be able to compete. We don’t want to go out in games and roll over as they [Spurs] are a good basketball team. I feel we played pretty good for most part but we still have a long way to go.”

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