Coach Pop's fuse got set off early when the Pelicans jumped out to a 4-0 lead, and he called an early time-out. Kawhi Leonard came out of it to drill the fadeaway to put the Spurs on the board, and then came right back down to nail a three to give the Spurs the lead on the next possession.
The Pelicans, who have a tendency to give the Spurs trouble, provided for a competitive opening quarter. Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon each started off 3-for-3, and David played some solid interior defense, but Kawhi got going offensively for the Spurs and had nine points in the first. New Orleans closed out the quarter on a 9-0 run, though, and SA was down 26-22.
The Spurs went on a 7-0 run of their own and quickly regained the lead. The Spurs locked down defensively and forced the Pelicans to miss eight straight shots, but they bounced back to tie the game up with three minutes left in the first half. Kawhi continued to produce for SA offensively, but a timely turnover to end the second quarter allowed New Orleans to take a 46-45 lead before the buzzer sounded. Kawhi lead all Spurs with 15.
The back-and-forth continued in the third quarter, and neither team gained an edge. Duncan inadvertently elbowed Davis about midway through the quarter forcing him to leave the game, but the Pelicans didn't let his absence put them out of the game. San Antonio's unexplainable struggles against New Orleans were evident once again, especially when Tim ran into Tony Parker forcing a turnover. Coach Pop had a good laugh about that one.
Eric Gordon caught fire in the third and the Pelicans built a small lead, but the Spurs closed out the quarter on a small run and it was tied 68-68 heading into the fourth.
The Pelicans kept hitting shots and the Spurs couldn't seem to find a rhythm until Aldridge got in a groove offensively late in the fourth. LaMarcus nailed the jumper to regain the lead for his 14th point of the quarter, and Patty Mills hit a triple right after that and in the blink of an eye the Spurs were up by five.
The Spurs closed the game out on a 20-5 run to beat the Pelicans in New Orleans, 94-86, which surprisingly is something that hadn't happened in nearly two years. Spurs improve to 52-9.
1:21 -- Patty Mills hits a three from top of the key
0:33 -- Kawhi with the nail in the coffin