Tony Parker scored 8 of the Spurs first 18 points (assisting another 6), to keep pace with an otherwise more engaged Pelicans team that at one point was out-rebounding San Antonio 8-1 and seemed to be out-hustling the Spurs on every play.
The Pelicans then went on 14-1 run in which all Spurs players not named Parker either missed open looks or turned the ball over. The Whole Benchilada looked subpar at this point in the game, and the Pelicans took advantage to establish themselves firmly in front, 34-19.
Each team shot a mere two three-pointers in the first, with the Spurs missing both and the Pelicans making both.
New Orleans continued to pour it on, looking like they were the potential #2 seed and eventually got the lead to 41-19 before Boris Diaw scored on 3 of 4 possessions for the Spurs. The second quarter saw an unlikely dual, pitting Norris vs. Boris, with Cole's 13 second quarter points (in 10 minutes) slightly edging Diaw's 12/2/2 on 6-for-7 in the quarter. Tony Parker got away with a Michael Jordan-esque pushoff for his 2nd quarter buzzer beater to make it a "respectable" 16 point deficit at the half.
The Spurs opened the 3rd quarter on a 12-6 run to cut it to a 10 point game, but were countered with a 10-4 run by the Pelicans. The game looked to be about over as both teams floundered for the final few minutes of the 3rd quarter (61 – 79) before the Spurs snapped off a unlikely 90 second, 8-0 run fueled by Patty Mills.
The Spurs bench unit carried the momentum into the fourth quarter, ultimately extending to a 15-4 run that left the Spurs down only 76-83 (their closest since the 1st quarter). The Spurs finally looked ready to try to win the game, when they started the "Twerk-A-Turk" campaign on Omer Asik. However, after succesfully getting him out of the game, the Spurs gave up two quick layups and were down 92-83 with half quarter left in the regular season.
It was a 7-point game for what looked like a final two-minute frenzy, that sadly sputtered out. The White Towel Reserves came in, but momentarily looked like a Trojan Horse with Patty Mills hitting a three after a Pelicans inbounding mistake and great defensive pressure led to a Belinelli steal.
The Spurs couldn't quite win out the end game, but showed some guts. The Pelicans ultimately showed that they can be dangerous when cornered and are no cakewalk of an eighth seed.