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Lauri Markkanen amassed 31 points and 12 rebounds and hit four three-pointers in a decisive fourth-quarter surge to help the visiting Utah Jazz earn a 130-118 win over the reeling San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, December 26 (Wednesday, December 27, Manila time).
The Jazz captured their season-best third straight win and their sixth in the past eight contests. San Antonio dropped its fifth consecutive contest and fell for the 23rd time in the past 24 games.
The Jazz led by 4 points at halftime and by a dozen early in the third quarter before San Antonio answered and drew within 100-93 heading to the final period. But the Spurs would get no closer than 6 points, as Markkanen had a three-pointer and a jumper and Jordan Clarkson added two free throws and a ringing dunk to expand the Utah advantage to 112-99.
Clarkson put up 24 points for the Jazz. Collin Sexton hit for 20, Walker Kessler had 11, and Keyonte George and Ochai Agbaji tallied 10 points apiece.
Keldon Johnson led the Spurs with 26 points off the bench. Devin Vassell added 22, Jeremy Sochan scored 19, Julian Champagnie contributed 16, and Victor Wembanyama tallied 15 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.
The Spurs ruled the opening period, running off to a 15-point lead after a putback layup by Zach Collins at the 3:20 mark. Utah responded with a 10-0 run to end the quarter, as a pair of free throws by Markkanen in the final second cut the Jazz’s deficit to 32-27.
Utah swept to the front early in the second quarter, taking a 38-37 lead on two foul shots by Clarkson with 8:19 to play in the period. The game was tied at 53 after a jumper by Sochan with 2:52 remaining. Markkanen’s bank shot with 2.6 seconds to go handed the Jazz a 64-60 advantage at the break.
Markkanen’s 15 points before halftime led all scorers, while Sexton added 12 and Clarkson had 11 for Utah. Four players were in double-figure scoring at halftime for the Spurs, led by Sochan with 14 points and Champagnie with 13.
Utah led 79-67 after Sexton’s running dunk with 8:28 to play in the third, but the Spurs responded, drawing within a point when Tre Jones hit a layup with 1:56 left in the quarter. – Rappler.com