Pelicans can't hold on to lead against the Spurs

Bradley Handwerger
The Pelicans' Anthony Morrow. Photo by NBA.com.

San Antonio has won four straight against New Orleans and nine of the past 10 games between the two franchises.

Tim Duncan and Tony Parker combined for 37 second-half points in helping the San Antonio Spurs overcome a 14-point deficit to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 102-95.

Duncan, who had 16 in the final 24 minutes, finished the game with 21 points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots while Parker's 32, of which 21 came in the second half, led all scorers. Parker also added nine assists.

The Pelicans (20-27) appeared set to cruise to their first win over their Southwest Division rival since January 2013 taking a 12-point lead into the fourth quarter.

But San Antonio (35-13) leaned on its experience to overwhelm New Orleans in the final 12 minutes. The Spurs forced five turnovers, kept the Pelicans to just 38 percent shooting and earned 13 free throws.

And when the final buzzer sounded, San Antonio's 38-point explosion in the final frame was enough to overcome what coach Gregg Popovich called a "disappointing first half."

While the Spurs' gameplan wasn't necessarily to force Pelicans burgeoning star forward Anthony Davis to just jumpers, that's what ended up happening. It worked as Davis finished just 6 of 21 shooting and finished with 17 points, 16 rebounds and four blocked shots. He also had five turnovers, however, three of which came in the fourth quarter

With the Pelicans up 82-70 following an Anthony Morrow jumper, Popovich used a timeout. The stoppage turned out to be all the Spurs needed to shut down New Orleans' momentum. Over the next three minutes, San Antonio went on a 12-0 run that put the Pelicans on their heels. It was a run from which New Orleans didn't recover.