In a game featured on ESPN, the Spurs battled the Utah Jazz. Led by Tony Parker, the Spurs built an 18 point lead in the third quarter that proved to be just enough to earn the Spurs their 31st win of the season.

Wednesday night, the Spurs hosted the Utah Jazz at the AT&T Center. The Spurs entered the game first place in the West while the Jazz came in at the bottom of the standings. However, records can be deceiving. The Jazz had won seven of their last 12 games coming into tonight. They'd recently beaten Oklahoma City and Denver. They began the season horribly, winning just one of their first 14 games. But once rookie sensation Trey Burke got healthy, they turned into a respectable team. The Spurs, meanwhile, limped into this game. Still without Tiago Splitter and having recently lost Danny Green for a month due to a fractured finger, San Antonio has continued to stockpile wins, but it's been shaky.

The Spurs began the game well, shooting 53% in the first quarter, but the Jazz kept it close by snaring five offensive rebounds in the opening frame. Derrick Favors used his athleticism to beat the Spurs up in the paint for nine early points. The Spurs answered with their own young presence as Jeff Ayres had three dunks in the first quarter. After one, the Spurs led, 28-25.

The second quarter was a forgettable one. With all the lineup shuffling due to injuries, the second unit hasn't been as potent as it used to be. Manu Ginobili once again started the game in an attempt to keep his injured hamstring warm. Pop brought Marco off the bench, but the lineup consisting of Patty Mills, Cory Joseph, Belinelli and two bigs just isn't getting it done. The second unit is not consistent and whereas the ball used to fly around the court, the offense generally seems lost now. I found myself wondering if they were going to be able to beat the shot clock each offensive possession. It was that shaky. Even so, the Jazz weren't able to do much better and the Spurs found themselves up five at halftime.

As has become his habit, Tony Parker took over the third quarter. Parker relentlessly probed the defense for driving lanes. He scored 12 points in the quarter and dished three assists. The Spurs didn't miss a shot in the third until the 5:16 mark, at which point they had amassed a 16 point lead, 68-52. Their largest lead would come a few minutes later at 18, but it was not to last. The Jazz did not give in, unfortunately. They regained their composure and fought back to cut the lead to 12 at the end of three.