With only three games left in the regular season, the Spurs knew that they had to win against the Pelicans in order to stay in the playoff hunt. Thankfully, the good guys played with urgency and received production from veterans and young guns alike, although there were still stressful moments when it looked like they were going to blow a big lead (as usual).
San Antonio was up by 17 points at the half but went into the fourth quarter only leading by four. With the season on the line, Demar DeRozan put the team on his back once again and took over by hitting multiple mid rangers to solidify the win for San Antonio.
However, it was Derrick White who led the team during the first half. He started the game red-hot by scoring eight points in less than five minutes of play and finished the opening quarter with 14 points. Impressively, White also kept up his solid play on the defensive end by sacrificing his body and drawing charges.
Unfortunately, White left the game during the third quarter following a collision with Jrue Holiday. He didn’t return to play and the team later confirmed that he had suffered a knee injury. His length of absence is unknown at the moment, but San Antonio will certainly hope that it’s nothing major since White has arguably been the team’s best player in Orlando.
On the bright side, the other young guns stepped up his in absence and made big contributions in the win. Lonnie Walker IV struggled with his shot for most of the game but showed off his playmaking skills on multiple possessions.
Dejounte Murray had a solid game too, as he finished with 18 points. He also gave the Pelicans problems on defence by aggressively going for steals and disrupting passing lanes with his length and athleticism.
Rudy Gay continued his excellent play off the bench and finished the game with 19 points. He seems to have turned into Benjamin Button and rediscovered some of his youth; Gay shot the ball with confidence and had a dunk that would make Zion Williamson jealous.
When the fourth quarter started, everyone knew that it was Demar DeRozan’s time to shine. He scored 15 points in the final frame alone and now leads the NBA with 62 fourth quarter points in Orlando. DeRozan ended the game with a team high 27 points and shot an efficient 10/16 from the field.
San Antonio is now only a game back of the Grizzlies and could move into the ninth seed if the Trail Blazers lose against the 76ers later in the day. With only two games left in the regular season, the Spurs will need to continue their strong play in order to have a shot of making the postseason for a record 23rd consecutive season.