The San Antonio Spurs, fresh off a win against the injury decimated Grizzlies, met the injury-hobbled New Orleans Pelicans, who were missing their top six scoring players ended up winning a contest that started off ugly but ended up in a beautiful win for the Silver and Black. Both teams played listlessly for most of the first half, but the Spurs turned it on in the third quarter, and coasted to a win by keeping pace in the fourth quarter to extend their home winning streak to ... a lot.
I have no idea what happened in the first quarter. My TV and internet service decided to quit working about 3 minutes before tipoff, and after about 20 minutes of rebooting routers and checking connections, and trying apps that didn't work without a wireless connection, I gave up and drove to a friend's house to watch the game. Somehow, the Spurs managed a 27-26 lead without my intervention.
The second quarter started slowly, and both teams drifted listlessly through the second quarter. The Pelicans missed 14 shot attempts in a row, and the Spurs didn't shoot much better. Kendrick Perkins tried to inject some energy into the game, but not even the referees would listen to him. Alvin Gentry did get the attention of the referee long enough to draw a technical foul, but even that moment seemed devoid of drama.
Finally with a minute and a half left in the quarter, Manu Ginobili hit a three point shot to breathe some life into the game. The Pelicans then hit a shot, and Manu hit another trey. On the next Pelican possession, Kawhi Leonard got a steal and got fouled, staking the Spurs to 46-39 lead. After a few more forgettable possessions, that's how the half ended, with the Spurs winning the quarter 19-13. The good thing was that the Spurs outscored the Pelicans by 6 in the quarter. The bad thing was the basketball. All of it.
The third quarter began to shed the ugliness of the first two sessions as Danny hit some shots from beyond the arc and the Spurs began to pick up their defensive intensity. Dante Cunningham tried to help the Pelicans answer, but LaMarcus Aldridge answered with a dunk and Tony Parker and Tim Duncan took the ball to the hole to stretch the lead to 64-47. Aldridge was having an off night shooting his mid-range jumper, but his dunks seemed to be fine. Boris Diaw gave the Spurs a little bit of a lift toward the end of the quarter, but turnovers kept the Spurs from expanding their lead as much as they should have, but the Spurs led by 18 at the end of the third, 73-55.
The Pelicans showed they had some fight by scoring the first 7 points of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 11. LaMarcus Aldridge remained in the game, showing that Pop cared about winning the game, or maybe it was just for LaMarcus to work on his midrange game. Which worked, as lambda was able to hit a few around the basket in the quarter. James Ennis brought the effort and intensity for the birds, but Ginobili answered with timely three point shots, including a 4 point play.
Boban got in the game late and dunked the ball off an offensive rebound to bring the Spurs to a 96-83 lead, but the Pelicans answered with Ajinca free throws and an Ennis three to cut the lead to just six with 50 seconds left. Kyle Anderson hit a basket when his defender fell down to extend the Spurs' lead to 8 with just 27 seconds left. Alexis Ajinca dunked the ball with 17 seconds left, but Boban had a putback on a missed free throw, and the Spurs some how got to 100 points, winning 100-92.
Observations and Random Thoughts:
- The Spurs outscored the Pelicans in the first three quarters, but were outscored by the Pelicans in the fourth, robbing me of the chance to point out that the Spurs always win the game when they win all four quarters.
- Danny Green is doing more around the basket these days, and while it's not always pretty, it's fairly effective. And he hit some threes too.
- Patty Mills still has the best towel waving game in the league. He doesn't get to do it as often as he used to when he was stuck to the bench, but when he gets a chance to shine, he kills it.
Sorry, no music break tonight. The problem with my Internet connection and getting through a game with no impact on the standings left me filled with a sense of ennui. Like my friend Henri, here.
The Spurs' record is now 63-12, and they have seven more meaningless games left in the season to play. They're as locked into second place in the Western Conference as the Birdman of Alcatraz was locked into ... Alcatraz. The next game is on Saturday against the talented Toronto Raptors at 7:30 pm in the AT&T Center.