Spurs came out focused and the Pelicans couldn't get anything to fall to begin the game. Tim Duncan scored the first four for San Antonio, which led to the Silver and Black going up 8-0 before a New Orleans time-out. LaMarcus Aldridge gave us a slight scare when he left to the locker room early in the first after tweaking his ankle, but he returned to the bench shortly after.
The Pelicans went on a 14-5 run when the Spurs inevitably became sloppy offensively, and with Boris Diaw coming in for LMA early, it seemed to damper the spark that the second unit brings in the first quarter. Part of that is due to the absence of Manu Ginobili (hip), but the second unit as a whole didn't have the fire that we've grown accustomed to so far this season. Thanks to a buzzer-beating jumper from Rasual Butler, the Spurs trailed 22-20 after one.
The second quarter was even worse. SA turned the ball over, fouled too much, and allowed the Pelicans to score from all over the floor. While the Spurs contained Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson got whatever shots they wanted in the first half. Anderson had 14 points in the second quarter alone, with four threes. The good guys couldn't get anything to fall either, and shot 32% in the opening quarters. Considering this was against the worst defensive team in the league, it was not pretty watch.The Spurs faced a seven point deficit at halftime.
Tony Parker came out aggressive to start the third. He did a great job getting into the lane and finding his teammates, but SA's defensive struggles leaked into the second half. The Spurs gave up lay-up (or dunk) after lay-up, which allowed Anthony Davis get himself going, after SA held him to just four points in the first half. Anderson continued to light it up, and no Spurs guard could keep up with the quickness of Ish Smith.
The Spurs trailed going into the fourth for the first time all season, which forced Pop to play Kawhi to start the final quarter. The main problem, however, was simple; no one could stop Ryan Anderson. He was engulfed in flames for the entire game, and the Spurs couldn't cool him down. There was also the issue of not a single Spur being able to stay with Ish Smith. Pop even brought in Ray McCallum to chase him around.
Aldridge was able to get himself going a little bit, but the Pelicans had all the momentum. To make matters worse, Tony Parker, who was playing well and staying aggressive, said whatever magic words earn a technical foul about halfway through the fourth. Anthony Davis was active all over the floor on both ends, and the Spurs just couldn't break this Pelicans team who simply wanted it more.
Pop put in the third unit with about three minutes left in the game when the Spurs trailed by 12, essentially waving the white flag.
The main issue was the ridiculous amount of dribble penetration that Spurs allowed from the Pelicans, which either led to a lay-up or a three for New Orleans almost every time down the floor. It was not a pretty game from a team who led the league in Defensive Rating coming into the game.
So, the Spurs let the Pelicans get the best of them in this one, giving them their second win of the season. Hats off to the Pellies' effort in this one.