Hayward scores 14, Jazz beat Spurs 101-97

Utah Jazz guard Dante Exum (11) pulls down a rebound as San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 12, 2017, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Gordon Hayward scored 14 and the Utah Jazz held on for a 101-97 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.

Utah will face the Los Angeles Clippers in the opening round of the playoffs. Los Angeles was facing Sacramento later Wednesday. A win by the Clippers would give them the fourth-seed and homecourt against the Jazz.

The win was a season-best ninth straight at home, the longest streak for the Jazz since 2012.

Hayward was an efficient 7 for 9 from the field while Rudy Gobert, George Hill and Shelvin Mack all finished with 13 for the Jazz.

LaMarcus Aldridge paced the Spurs with 18 points and Kawhi Leonard added 14. San Antonio faces Memphis in the playoffs.

Both the Jazz and Spurs played all their players for most of the game, but turned it over to the reserves down the stretch. The Jazz led most of the night before a Kyle Anderson jumper tied the game at 88-88 with just under five minutes remaining. A Shelvin Mack 3-pointer put the Jazz up 96-94 as the two teams went back and forth down the stretch.

San Antonio, however, never lead again as a Dante Exum steal with 28 seconds remaining forced the Spurs into a foul situation and the Jazz iced the game from the free-throw line.

TIP-INS

Spurs: Pau Gasol reached the 20,000 career-points with 13 points and now has 20,001 for his career.

Jazz: Utah had its ideal starting lineup of Hayward, Rodney Hood, Hill, Gobert and Derrick Favors all available for the first time since March 5, though Hood and Favors didn’t start. The Jazz are 11-2 when that unit starts this season.

GRADUAL PROGRESSION

The Jazz reached the 50-win mark this season for the first time since 2009-10 and are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Utah embarked on a slow rebuild under general manager Dennis Lindsey and coach Quin Snyder and watched the wins increase from 25 to 38 to 40 and now 51 since the 2013-14 season.

QUOTABLE

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich let off a few jokes when asked about the trade that sent Boris Diaw to the Jazz last summer.

“It made our dinners a lot less fun,” Popovich said. “He was one of the only guys who would drink with me. I try to corrupt all of my players with wine. He was easy. He was an easy target.”

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