ORLANDO – The Utah Jazz are going into the playoffs well-rested and with a victory.
Rayjon Tucker had 18 points for the Jazz, who finished with eight players in double figures and used their regulars either sparingly or not at all.
Jarrell Brantley and Georges Niang each added 13 for the Jazz and All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell had 11 points in just 11 minutes in his final tune-up before the playoffs.
The Jazz (44-28) earned the 6th seed in the Western Conference, and now turn their attention to Denver, who beat Utah all three times in the regular season, including a thrilling double-overtime 134-132 win last week.
“I think you’ll see a different level of competition for one,” said Mitchell, who scored 35 points in last week’s loss to the Nuggets. “I think the intensity and certain shots that guys are getting now won’t be there. With us and Denver, all we’re really missing is the fans and the altitude. For us, the game is going to be played the same. There’s going to be a lot of physicality. Playoff intensity is just two totally different intensities and I think we have to be ready to match it plus set the tone ourselves.”
Ed Davis had 11 points in the first half before injuring his knee, while Nigel Goss-Williams and Miye Oni each added 10 points off the bench for the Jazz.
Before the game, San Antonio was eliminated from playoff contention, ending the Spurs 22-year postseason streak.
”You can’t say enough about the Spurs,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. ”They’ve been the premier franchise in the NBA for a long time.”
Keldon Johnson scored 24 points to lead seven Spurs in double figures. Marco Belinelli and Luka Samanic each had 16 for San Antonio.
The Spurs were officially ousted when Memphis beat Milwaukee, and Phoenix completed an undefeated eight-game run in the NBA’s restart bubble with a victory over Dallas.
”It’s tough,” Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan said. ”It’s more so tough putting your faith in somebody else’s hands.”
It looked just as it always does. Only this time, it was very different.
For the first time since April 1997, the Spurs played a game knowing that the playoffs were out of reach. The 22-year run of playoff spots tied the Philadelphia 76ers’ franchise for the longest in NBA history. The 76ers, starting as the Syracuse Nationals before moving to Philadelphia, went to the playoffs every year from 1950 through 1971.
The first game of the Jazz-Nuggets best-of-seven series will tip off Monday at 11:30 a.m. mountain time.