San Antonio closed within 0.5 game of New Orleans after a xxx-xxx win in the Crescent City. The Spurs, riding a Trade Deadline boost, rode hot shooting from behind-the-arc, clutch shot-making in the second half, and remaining hyperactive in the passing lanes to create transition opportunities. The Spurs were able to capture their eighth win in nine games against the Pelicans in this road SEGABABA by capturing a lead they would not give up in the last three quarters.
San Antonio’s All-Star Dejounte Murray (31 points, 12 assists, and 7 rebounds) matched his career high from last night’s effort, and a typical balanced Spurs scoresheet from a bevy of contributors - Lonnie Walker (17 points), Keldon Johnson (16 points), Doug McDermott (15 points, and Jock Landale (10 points).
New Orleans was paced by a stellar effort from its newly acquired star CJ McCollum (36 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists) and Brandon Ingram (22 points).
- This is the chef’s kiss of tributes to the recently departed Derrick White.
- It’s pretty neat to see our Spurs topping the league at 28 assists per game.
- The large amount of empty seats in the lower bowl at Smoothie King....
- That Simmons / Harden trade (and the lead up to the trade deadline) rivaled the grossness of the Kawhi exit experience.
- I had to look up Ingram’s height to see that he’s 6’8”. He plays much longer than that.
- Pelicans rookie center Herb Jones is my latest ‘big man with huge upside potential’ crush. I’ve since discarded Christian Wood to the recycle bin.
- After Murray doinked a bankshot off the side of the backboard to start the third period, Sean Elliott quipped “Don’t do a Russell Westbrook!”
- Sequence of the Game: At the open of the second half, Murray found a slicing Johnson late in the shot clock for a two handed slam and Vassell followed that up on the next possession with a pull-up three in transition.
- Devin’s Deeds: Vassell airballed it badly on a possession midway through the second period, but later caught a late pass on the baseline to swish it cleanly through. Later in the second frame, Vassell looked hopeless stuck on the perimeter and found a cutting Landale for a layup at the shot clock’s end. More playing time is so good for him.
- Joshua Primo’s fearlessness. That’s it.
- Keldon’s Kitchen: His stroke looks so true no matter where he is around the arc now!
- In the opening half, Doug McDermott seemed to be the only Spur that could find his stroke behind the arc. New Orleans’ stars Ingram and McCollum inflicted the bulk of the damage to the visitors. Somehow and refreshingly, McDermott and Jock Landale led the team in scoring in a half where they led 59-53.
- Coming out of the break, the Spurs’ perimeter players were determined to get to the rim in whatever way they could and pushed the lead out to a dozen. McDermott was the fortunate recipient of three free throws on a questionable foul call. Murray asserted his dominance by running off 11 points in a row on a variety of impressive makes. At one point, Murray diced his way through four Pelicans’ defenders for a lay-up. A Primo three from the wing closed out the scoring for the quarter and San Antonio went to the fourth up 98-82.
- Murray and Johnson led a parade of Spurs drives into the paint for jumpshot gold throughout the final frame. New Orleans was unable to mount a sustained comeback, which cursed the viewers with a longer-than-necessary discourse between Elliott and Bill Land about the hideous King Cake Baby mascot.
For the Pelicans fan’s perspective, please visit The Bird Writes.
The Spurs’ Rodeo Road Trip continues in Monday night at 7:00 PM CT in a tilt with DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls on NBA TV.