SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs’ defense came up big down the stretch as they held on for a 98-93 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans (39-29) at the AT&T Center on Thursday night.
The victory was the second straight for San Antonio on their six-game homestand. After recent struggles on the defensive end, the Spurs used their signature aggressive style to hold on for the win.
Here is what went good and bad for the Spurs, as well as three standout players: LaMarcus Aldridge, Dejounte Murray, and Manu Ginobili.
- The Spurs squeaked out a key win over New Orleans in a very tight Western Conference playoff race. The victory moves San Antonio a half-game behind the Pelicans for the sixth seed and puts them in eighth overall.
- LaMarcus Aldridge was up for the challenge going up against MVP candidate Anthony Davis.
- Manu Ginobili did Manu Ginobili things.
- San Antonio’s defense was stellar on Davis all night long. He finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds but had to put in work for those stats. He shot 8-for-19 (42 percent) from the field and was held seven points below is 28 points per game average.
- San Antonio went away from what they did in the first half that got them a 15-point lead. Poor shot selection, turnovers, and missed defensive assignments let the Pelicans get back into the game late in the fourth quarter.
- Danny Green struggled on the offensive end, scoring just five points on 2-for-11 shooting. However, he did most of his work on the defensive end as he finished the night with a career-high six blocks.
Three Standout Players:
LaMarcus Aldridge: After struggling against the Pelicans on two previous occasions, Aldridge was ready to step up to the challenge as he went up against MVP candidate Anthony Davis.
Aldridge finished with a game-high 25 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. He shot 11-for-27 from the field as he banged down low and got physical with Davis. On the defensive end, he came up big in the final minutes. He blocked E’Twaun Moore and Nikola Mirotic in the late stages of the game to seal the win.
Manu Ginobili: The heart and soul of this Spurs team might just be Manu Ginobili. Once again, he showed exactly why Coach Pop continues to go to him in late game situations.
Ginobili scored 11 points off the bench, including a three-pointer that put San Antonio up seven points in the third quarter. Like Aldridge, Ginobili’s big plays came on the defensive end. He drew a charging call on Davis, which caused New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry to get a technical foul. Then, Davis was called for a technical for fouling Ginobili at midcourt.
Oh, Manu, the voodoo that you do so well.
Dejounte Murray: The second-year guard once again showed his growth and also showed fans that the future is bright with him in the driver seat of the San Antonio offense.
Murray posted 18 points and 12 rebounds in the win, with two high arching shots over the outstretched arms of Davis. He was patient and took his time to get guys in their spots and you can see his teammates comfort levels with Murray on the court rise.
He did get taken out of the game when he went down with an injury to his ankle or knee but did not need to be taken to the locker room.
The Spurs are now 39-30 on the season and will return to the court on Saturday night when they welcome the Minnesota Timberwolves (40-29) to the AT&T Center at 7:30 p.m.