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Pelicans 97, Spurs 90

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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NEW ORLEANS — Forwards Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson scored 22 points each, and David added 12 rebounds and five blocked shots to power the New Orleans Pelicans to a 97-90 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night at the Smoothie King Center.

In handing the defending NBA champions their sixth loss in seven games, Davis turned the tide with a monster third quarter. Davis scored 10 points, blocked four shots and grabbed four rebounds as the Pelicans opened a 70-64 lead. Davis made three consecutive mid-range jumpers from the right elbow, and then he clamped down defensively.

On three of the Spurs’ next possessions, Davis blocked a shot. He was an equal-opportunity rejecter, swatting away shots by guard Manu Ginobili, forward Boris Diaw and forard Tim Duncan. On the final block, he swallowed up a layup attempt by Duncan, forcing a jump ball, which he won.

With Davis on the bench at the start of the fourth quarter, the Pelicans forced the Spurs into six empty possessions — including three turnovers — in a 9-2 spurt to take an 83-72 lead with 6:45 left. The Pelicans (15-14) opened a 12-point lead and coasted to the victory.

The Spurs (18-13) were led by 20 points each by Duncan and point guard Cory Joseph, but they hurt their cause with 17 turnovers.

Duncan started strong, making 5 of his first 7 shots to lead the Spurs with 10 first-quarter points en route to a 24-20 lead. The Spurs had 14 points in the paint in the first quarter and shot 52.6 percent (10 of 16).

The Pelicans took a 48-44 halftime lead on the strength of a 28-20 second quarter. Ryan Anderson had nine points off the bench, and Davis and Jrue Holiday each had 10 points to lead New Orleans.

New Orleans grabbed the lead by outmuscling the Spurs on the boards, holding a 15-7 edge on the second quarter. The Pelicans also made 12 of 14 foul shots, while San Antonio was only 3 of 4 from the line. Duncan and guard Cory Joseph, starting for the injured Tony Parker, each scored 10 points for San Antonio in the first half.

Davis took a nasty fall after unsuccessfully leaping to haul in a half-court pass from Holiday in the second quarter, but after spending 30 seconds on the floor beneath the basket, he came up shaking his left hand and appeared OK.

NOTES: San Antonio rested PG Tony Parker (strained left hamstring), F Kawhi Leonard (bruised right hand) and PG Patty Mills (right shoulder). “Every time (Parker) thinks it’s back, he feels something,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “I’m just going to sit him and give it time.” … Pelicans coach Monty Williams said F Anthony Davis has to learn to expect tough defensive treatment. “I thought the last game (a 96-84 loss to the Indiana Pacers) it kind of got to him a little bit because he couldn’t get a shot off without people hitting below his waist,” Williams said. “But that’s something all the good players go through. You learn how to play through it.” … Williams believes the paint-oriented Pelicans will draw more fouls if they win more games. “I do think our guys at times should get to the line more with the physical play that they deal with when they go to the basket,” Williams said. “The more you win, somehow it translates into all that other stuff.”

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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