Without their Big 3, Spurs fell short against the Jazz
The San Antonio Spurs failed to extend their winning streak without their three stars, but they did not go down without a fight.
Gary Neal and Tiago Splitter led the Spurs with 14 points apiece, DeJuan Blair had 13 points and eight rebounds in his return to the lineup and Matt Bonner had 10 points off the bench.
Down by three points 44-47 at halftime, the Spurs used a strong third quarter, outscoring the Utah Jazz in the period 24-17 to take a 68-64 advantage entering fourth quarter.
The Spurs looked in control in the fourth, when they surged ahead 75-67 on a free throw by Splitter. But Jamaal Tinsley hit a jumper, then Devin Harris took over.
Harris scored 25 points, including 11 straight in the fourth quarter as the Jazz halted the Spurs' 11-game winning streak and boosted their own playoff hopes with a 91-84 victory Monday night.
Paul Millsap added 18 points, Gordon Hayward chipped in 16 points, and Al Jefferson had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz, who avenged a 114-104 road loss Sunday to the Spurs.
Utah (30-28) is injury riddled but the Spurs (40-15) were short-handed in a different way, choosing not to bring stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili for the rematch.
Coach Gregg Popovich opted to rest his stars because of the condensed schedule, and San Antonio suffered their first loss since March 17.
The Spurs (14) had less turnovers than the Jazz (18), but Utah outrebounded San Antonio 50-38 and had 13 blocks compared to just five for the Spurs.
With the loss, coupled by the win by the Oklahoma City Thunder over the Milwaukee, San Antonio fell to second place in the West, one game behind the Thunder with 11 games left to play.
San Antonio will play three games in four days starting with a back-to-back against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday and the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday.