The San Antonio Spurs (31-38) kept their playoff hopes alive with a 122-113 win over the New Orleans Pelicans (30-40) on Sunday afternoon.
The win has the Spurs in 10th place in the Western Conference, just percentage points behind the Portland Trail Blazers. New Orleans was pushed to the brink of elimination with the loss and can be officially eliminated with a Blazers win later Sunday night.
“If we’re able to be in that ninth spot, that’s quite a victory and it says a lot about how this young group has come together with three of the starters out. I’m already thrilled with how they played, and it’d be really fantastic if we could get that,” Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said.
Derrick White had 16 points but would leave in the third quarter after he suffered a knee contusion and would not return.
JJ Redick scored 31 points with a season-high eight 3-pointers to lead the Pelicans. Rookie Zion Williamson had 25 points and seven rebounds in limited minutes while Brandon Ingram chipped in 17.
Three Standout Players
With Derrick White out with a knee injury, DeMar DeRozan took over the fourth quarter and led the Spurs to a critical win when they needed it the most, proving just how important he is to this team.
DeRozan scored 27 points and shot 62 percent. He was aggressive in the fourth quarter and hit big shots to keep San Antonio ahead as New Orleans was making one final push to crack the Spurs’ 20 point lead, cutting it down to four points late.
“We knew Derrick going down, that was a big blow for us,” DeRozan said. “We just had to hold tight.”
One player who has drunk from the fountain of youth in the bubble is Rudy Gay. He started off slow in his first two games but rebounded to help his team get wins in the last few outings, proving to be huge.
Gay finished with 19 points off the bench. He hit two consecutive three’s in the third quarter to keep the Spurs within distance from the surging Pelicans, who were going on a run to cut down San Antonio’s lead.
The Spurs’ point guard took over with his teammate out and helped the Spurs get the important win to keep their playoff chances alive.
Murray finished with 18 points for the Spurs. He stepped up big when his team needed him and remained aggressive all through the fourth quarter.
The Spurs are now 31-38 on the season and will return to the court on Tuesday afternoon when they face the Houston Rockets (43-25) at 1 p.m.