Tim Duncan helped lead the San Antonio Spurs to five NBA championships. On Sunday, the Silver and Black showed him they will be just fine without him – then honored home following another home win.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 22 points as he led the Spurs to a 113-100 win over the New Orleans Pelicans at the AT&T Center.
Manu Ginobili added a season-high 17 points and Kawhi Leonard added 13 for San Antonio, who retired Duncan’s jersey following the game.
”It was a game that we had to win, that we wanted to win badly,” Ginobili said. ”Even if we would have lost, this is way beyond it.”
San Antonio struggled early, but a solid second and third quarter put them in control – ensuring they would not lose on Duncan’s night.
”Our physical effort was pretty good,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ”Our mental effort was better than it has been. A lot of people participated and got involved, so that was good.”
The Pelicans were led by Alex Ajenca’s 16 points. Anthony Davis chipped in 12 for New Orleans (9-20), who lost their eight of the last ten games.
”We’re very inconsistent,” Davis said. ”One game we play well offensively, defensively we’re talking, and another game we’re not. We’ve got to figure out what team we want to be identified as. We can’t keep going game from game with a different identity. We’ve got to come out the same way.”
The big moment was after the game when the team sent Duncan’s No. 21 jersey to the rafters. Duncan’s girlfriend, children, old college coaches were in attendance. Former players David Robinson, Bruce Bowen, Sean Elliott, Malik Rose, Antonio Daniels and Will Perdue also were there.
Up next: The Spurs are now 22-5 on the season and will return to the court on Tuesday when they travel to Houston to face the Rockets at 7 p.m. inside the Toyota Center.