With 9:26 minutes left in the fourth quarter on Monday, it looked like the San Antonio Spurs would not get over the hump in New Orleans, as the Pelicans had just taken an 82-70 lead. Patty Mills would knock down back-to-back jumpers for his own 5-0 run, then Danny Green, who had just rejoined the team prior to tip-off from a 10-game injury absence, would go on his own 5-0 run. Tony Parker (32 points, 9 assists) would put the finishing touches on the 10-0 run with a 3-foot floating jumper, as the Spurs would tie the Pelicans at 82 points apiece, in a matter of less than four minutes.
Getting stops is what the Spurs had needed all evening and those stops came at the right time – the fourth quarter. The Spurs would save their best defensive effort for the fourth quarter, as they held the Pelicans to 19 points, 38% shooting, forced 5 turnovers, and while doing all of this on the defensive end, Parker unleashed a closing fourth quarter with 11 points, while Tim Duncan (21 points, 7 rebounds, 6 blocks) provided six points in the final quarter to help the Spurs outscore the Pelicans 20-13 in the final 5:48. San Antonio would overcome a 14-point deficit in the fourth to defeat New Orleans 102-95 and begin the Rodeo Road Trip on the winning track.
In the first half, outside of Parker, no one on the Spurs could really get going offensively. While Anthony Davis (17 points, 16 rebounds, 4 blocks), and Eric Gordon (19 points) combined for 22 points in the first half. Though the Spurs were right on the Pelicans’ heels in the first quarter, New Orleans created some separation in the second quarter led by Anthony Morrow (20 points) off the bench, as San Antonio’s offense struggled to score, only scoring 17 points in the quarter, as the Spurs went into the half down 12 points.
In the second half however, Parker and Duncan led the way as they combined to score 20 of San Antonio’s 22 points in the third quarter and finished the second half with Parker scoring 21 points, and Duncan scoring 16 points. Outside of Morrow who was on a tear scoring-wise in the first half, no Pelicans scored more than 9 points in the second half as the Spurs outscored them 60-41 in the final 24 minutes.
The ole veterans – Parker and Duncan
Parker and Duncan turned in vintage performances in the second half, as they both combined to score 20 of the team’s 22 points in the third quarter. What was unique about that third quarter was the sequence in which they scored the points. First, Duncan came out in the third and provided the Spurs with 10 straight points. Then, Parker took over the scoring baton as he scored the next 10 points in a row for San Antonio. Nando De Colo was the lone Spur to score a basket in the third quarter who wasn’t named Parker or Duncan.
Here’s a stat to think about: In the 14:58 minutes he played in the second half, Duncan managed to block five shots. As Davis is the up and coming superstar with his block averages, Duncan is proving that he can still compete (and outshine) on certain nights, with the best of them.
Diaw’s Defensive Effect
After he shut down Rudy Gay in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Boris Diaw was given the assignment of limiting Davis. Though Matt Bonner, Tiago Splitter, and Duncan were there for support, Diaw’s defense held Davis to 17 points on 6-of-21 shooting, and four turnovers. Take a look at the Boris Diaw Defensive Effect on Davis’ shot chart.
Familiar face returns to the perimeter
It was no secret with Green and Kawhi Leonard out the Spurs were lacking a key defensive stopper on the perimeter, as well as rebounder who wasn’t a guard. With Green returning, he provided just that – defense and rebounding. Green helped hold Gordon to 19 points on 13 shot attempts, but his seven rebounds were also key in the Spurs’ win. In the fourth quarter, when the Spurs were making their comeback, the Pelicans took a perimeter shot and it clanked off the rim. In the past few games, had it just been Parker, Mills, or Marco Belinelli there for the rebound, the other team would have had the upper hand in grabbing the rebound. With Green back, he jumped up, and grabbed the rebound to the end possession and complete a successful defensive possession.
Where San Antonio Stands
· Regular Season: 35-13
· Road Record: 17-5
· Vs. Opponents with -.500 records: 20-1
· Rodeo Road Trip: 1-0
(All stats used via NBA.com/Stats)