Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert (27) talks to Rudy Gay during the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Monday, Dec. 27, 2021, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Jordan Clarkson provided Utah with a needed emotional lift, which he was able to maintain despite a fan trying to shake him.
Clarkson scored 23 points, Rudy Gobert had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and the Jazz beat the San Antonio Spurs 110-104 on Monday night for their fourth straight victory.
“I thought we did a great job tonight attacking, moving the ball (and) driving them,” Gobert said. “We were able to score in transition because of our defense.”
The Jazz were without injured guard Donovan Mitchell. Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray missed his second straight game while in the league’s health and safety protocols.
Clarkson provided Utah with a boost, finishing 9 for 21 from the field.
San Antonio went on an 8-0 run to close within 108-102 with 22 seconds left after Spurs coach Gregg Popovich emptied the bench, but Clarkson sealed the victory with a pair of free throws.
Clarkson, who is from San Antonio, did so minutes after confronting a fan sitting courtside in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
The eighth-year guard was upset by a non-call on his shot attempt and did not run downcourt in time to prevent a 3-pointer from Doug McDermott with 4 minutes remaining. Utah called a timeout as San Antonio pulled within 94-80, at which point the fan stood up and yelled at Clarkson.
After initially ignoring the fan and walking toward the Jazz’s bench, Clarkson said the fan “crossed a line” with his comments but did not repeat what the fan said. Clarkson stopped, turned and began walking toward the fan until his teammates rushed to hold him back and security got between the two. Security escorted the fan out.
“The guy just keeps antagonizing me, like almost challenges me like, ‘What you gonna do?’” Clarkson said. “After saying a bunch of stuff. I make money, I ain’t trying to lose no money. I’m going to lose more money than he’s going to lose. He’s probably going to just get kicked out of the game. We’re playing basketball, having a good time. Fans got to learn, we’re human, we’re people, too. Stuff like that just can’t fly.”
The Jazz were enjoying themselves prior to that altercation.
Bojan Bogdanovic had 19 points and Joe Ingles added 17 for Utah, which has won 12 of 14.
Derrick White scored 21 points and Doug McDermott added 17 for San Antonio, who had its season-high, three-game winning streak snapped.
“Overall, it was a good game for improvement, understanding how we have to play, and what this is all about,” Popovich said. “I am actually pleased.”
The Spurs entered the game averaging 111.8 points, the league’s third-best scoring offense, but the Jazz shut that down after a fast start.
“They do an an excellent job pushing the ball and we didn’t allow them to get those 3s,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.
The absence of each team’s leading scorer didn’t hamper either offense initially. Both shot better than 60% in the opening quarter, shooting a combined 24 for 40.
Utah opened a 15-point lead while scoring 11 straight in the second quarter. Gobert’s presence impacted the Spurs’ short jumpers and layups. San Antonio went 7 for 26 in the second quarter, failing to make a field goal for 5 1/2 minutes.
Gobert finished with three blocks but altered numerous shots in the second and third quarters as Utah took command of the game.
Jazz: Mitchell is expected to miss at least two games after straining his back in the first quarter of Saturday’s win over Dallas. … Mike Conley has 1,300 career steals. … Utah is 14-3 against the West. … Udoka Azubuike (ankle) and Malik Fitts (shoulder) both missed the game with injuries. … The Jazz limited their previous 10 opponents to 108 points per game.
Spurs: San Antonio had scored at least 110 points in its previous 10 games. It was their longest such streak since 11 straight in March 1984. … Keldon Johnson made his 100th career start in his 118th game with the Spurs. Only Tim Duncan (118 starts), David Robinson (116), Willie Anderson (115), Tony Parker (113) and Sean Elliott (106) had more career starts over the same time period. … Jock Landale is shooting 64% on 3-pointers. … The Spurs are 8-13 against the West.
Jazz: At Portland on Wednesday.
Spurs: Host Miami on Wednesday.