SALT LAKE CITY // The San Antonio Spurs were glad to take some time off as they wait to see who they will meet in the next round after sweeping their first-round Western Conference series with the Utah Jazz.
"I'm sore," said reserve Stephen Jackson, who played 26 minutes in the down-to-the wire 87-81 victory.
"Those guys play hard."
Fortunately, the Spurs are going to get some rest before the next round as they await to see the winner of the Grizzlies-Clippers series.
"There's going to be some rust there," said All-Star Tim Duncan of the wait between series. "We have been playing so many games back to back, you're going to lose your rhythm a little. But health-wise and for us to get 100 per cent in the tank, it's great."
The Spurs had to survive a furious rally on Monday after going up by as many as 21 points in the fourth quarter.
"The way they played the last five minutes showed the character of that team," Jacksons said. "We take our hats off to them. They fought to the end."
The Spurs can thank their bench for keeping them in it.
Star sixth man Manu Ginobili hit consecutive three-pointers after the Jazz had pulled within 61-58 late in the third quarter.
And after the Jazz got within four in the final minute, Ginobili turned a steal by MVP candidate Tony Parker into a lay-up that sealed the win.
"We've been a deeper team this year and it sure came in handy tonight," said Gregg Popovich, the Spurs coach.