The Utah Jazz lost to the San Antonio Spurs 96-78 Thursday night. Now what?

Do we talk about how this blowout loss felt a little bit better than the other two earlier this season? Do we talk about what it’s going to take for the Jazz to get to that next level, or better yet, the Spurs level?

I think we all know what it’s going to take, we just wish there were some other way. It’s kind of like the annoying thing the Dennis Lindsey always says: "We’re not going to skip steps."

But it’s true, and bless his heart for understanding that and sticking to it.

The only way for the Jazz to get to the Spurs level is time and patience.

“They’ve been playing together for a long time, and they know their plays,” Derrick Favors said of the Spurs after putting up 25 points and grabbing six rebounds in the loss home loss Thursday night. “They are a great team with a lot of great players and a great coach.”

They do have a lot of great players. The Spurs also have the greatest player of his generation in Tim Duncan. While the Great Kobe Bryant Gift Exchange Carnival chases the 11-48 Lakers across the country, The Big Fundamental is starting at center for the 49-9 Spurs, the only team in the NBA with a real shot of dethroning Golden State.

Duncan’s better today and has always meant way more to San Antonio than Bryant has ever meant to Los Angeles; compare the numbers and the accolades on both sides. However, the biggest stat is NBA Finals appearances before and after the two superstars arrived: Los Angeles before Bryant, six, after 13; San Antonio before Duncan, 0, after six.

Both have five championships. Duncan would probably have six if the Spurs hadn’t swept Cleveland in 2007, setting up the furious LeBron James revenge series in 2013. Also overlooked is the curse of Tracy McGrady. The Spurs are so dull and boringly good that it took the Fates up until Game 6 of the Finals for them to realize McGrady was on the team and still in the playoffs.

Sure, the Spurs won their first championship in Duncan’s second season. That’s not typical. And Duncan is a rare, rare player. Then it took San Antonio four years after its first championship to make it back to the Finals. The Spurs have notched 50 or more wins over the past 16 years — the streak a Saturday tilt against Houston away from extending to 17 years.

The Jazz don’t have a Duncan. They don’t have a Manu Ginobili or Tony Parker in their primes. The Jazz do, however, have an emerging Big 3.

“With the exception of Gordon (Hayward), Rodney (Hood) and (Derrick) Fave (Favors), nobody really knows when their number’s going to be called consistently,” Utah head coach Quin Snyder said Thursday.

Hayward is averaging 19.9 points per game, 5.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists, and he’s the closest the Jazz are going to come to a flashy superstar. Hood, the 2016 Rising Star, really is a rising star. He’s averaging 14.9 points for the year, 17.6 over the last two months and has become Reggie Miller-esque in the fourth quarter, knocking down big 3-pointer after big 3-pointer. And Favors is at a healthy 17.0 points and 8.4 rebounds. He is proving to be a stabilizing force for the Jazz and continues to improve. Will he ever be Duncan? No. Is it possible he has a couple Duncan-like seasons? Maybe?

“He’s a good player,” Favors said of Duncan. “Every time I go against him, I try to steal something from him.”

Luckily, Favors will face Duncan one more time on April 5 in Salt Lake City. Steal away.

I know Core Four was a lot of fun to say, but it’s really about the Big 3, and it has been since Y2K.

Having that core in place and adding around them is where the Jazz are now. Look for the ever-meticulous Lindsey and Snyder to make a concerted, perhaps more focused, effort to find the right pieces to the evolving Jazz puzzle this summer.

To finish off the Snyder quote above: “We need a lot of guys just being ready to go, and we’ve been lucky that we’ve had that.”

The Jazz are set up nicely. Rudy Gobert is an absolute force on defense. The Return of AB Part II should be set to hit the Vivint Arena shortly. Trey Lyles looks like a promising young understudy to Favors. And we can’t forget the promise of fifth overall draft pick Dante Exum when he returns next season.

In addition, the Jazz have a lot of guys doing a lot of different things for them right now — and for now, that’s fine.

Once the Jazz move on from a culture of scrapping to a culture of winning 50-plus games a season, they will attract stronger starters, role players and depth, the way the Spurs scored LaMarcus Aldridge and David West this past offseason.

It’s tough to be patient, but the Jazz aren’t the Spurs yet. They are a fun group to watch, and the fun should double once they find themselves in the playoffs for the first time since 2012 — when they got swept by the Spurs.

The waiting is the hardest part.

Follow or unfollow Garrett on Twitter @G_Faylor.