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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, April 4th (All times eastern)

San Antonio Spurs (52-23) at Utah Jazz (50-26), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Two of the top teams in the Western Conference battle tonight, as the red-hot San Antonio Spurs visit the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena.

The Spurs, who defeated the Jazz in five games in the 2007 Western Conference finals, are a half game behind New Orleans for the top spot in the West and the Southwest Division.

Utah is the fourth seed in the conference and owns a 3 1/2 game lead over the second-place Denver Nuggets in the Northwest Division.

The Spurs can clinch their 11th straight playoff berth this evening with a victory over the Jazz.

San Antonio has won eight in a row and will open a two-game road trip on Friday. Tony Parker scored 26 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out seven assists as the Spurs crushed the Golden State Warriors, 116-92, at the AT&T Center. San Antonio ripped off 11 straight wins earlier this season from February 11 to March 6.

Tim Duncan collected 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs, who improved to 32-6 at home this season. Manu Ginobili tallied 16 points off the bench, while Michael Finley netted 13 in the victory.

The Spurs will visit Portland on Sunday at the Rose Garden. They are 20-17 on the road, and have won three in a row as the visitor.

The Jazz, who won the Northwest Division in 2006-07, wrap up a three-game homestand tonight. Mehmet Okur scored 22 points as Utah used a huge third quarter run to surge past the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves, 117-100, at EnergySolutions Arena to reach the 50-win plateau for the second straight season.

Deron Williams had 19 points and 14 assists for the Jazz, who have won five of their last six games overall. Andrei Kirilenko scored 13, while Carlos Boozer added 12 points and seven rebounds.

Utah, which has won five in a row as the host, is 34-4 at home this season. After tonight's game, the Jazz will embark on a two-game road trip at New Orleans and Dallas.

The teams split a pair of games this season, as each club picked up a win at home. San Antonio has lost three straight at Utah.

The Spurs will host the Jazz on April 16th at the AT&T Center.

04/04 10:59:06 ET

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