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San Antonio vs. New Orleans, Final Score: Lackluster Spurs get blown out by Pelicans, 110-146

The Pelicans rode a decided advantage from 3-point land to claim a lead that it wouldn’t relinquish

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs were consistently a step slow and behind tonight in the defeat
Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

On Tony Parker Hall of Fame Day, the San Antonio Spurs weren’t able to supply a victory in his honor, as New Orleans won the outside shooting battle and ultimately what Sean Elliott described wistfully as a ‘drama-free’ game. The Pelicans hit on a stunning (and franchise record) 22 of their 4123-point attempts, while the Spurs’ shooting was bolstered only through a bevy of garbage time buckets.

New Orleans moved to 16-11 with the road win as CJ McCollum (29 points) and Brandon Ingram (26 points, 4 assists, and 1 block) found early confidence on the perimeter, and Zion Williamson (15 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals) found his (as Elliott commented) “loud points” later in the game.

San Antonio dropped to 4-21 in the home loss. Victor Wembanyama (17 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 blocks - 8th consecutive double-double) received support from Cedi Osman (14 points and 3 rebounds) and Julian Champagnie (15 points) off the bench.

In the first quarter, the Spurs appeared to abandon Friday’s offensive execution with Wembanyama seemingly the only San Antonio player to get buckets. The Pelicans found the touch from inside the paint and then from the outside to the tune of a 33-20 lead. Ingram and Trey Murphy III helped stake the visitors to 50+% shooting inside and behind the 3-point line.

New Orleans pushed the lead out to as much as 20 in the second quarter, while the San Antonio offense sputtered. The two-headed monster of Ingram and McCollum scored with ease. The team needed every one of Osman’s dozen points to shave the deficit to ten.

The Pelicans’ veterans made life miserable for whoever was on the court for San Antonio in the third, as a 44-27 avalanche by New Orleans made it very difficult for the Spurs to mount any type of comeback.

Observations

  • Favorite Tony Parker moment? After the Spurs were dismissed in the 2012 Western Conference finals by the Thunder, the Wee Frenchman hit the game winning shot against OKC in the 2013 season opener and his celebration was one of the more demonstrative displays he’s shown.
  • Though they have not had it translate to sustained postseason success, New Orleans’ Ingram, Williamson, and McCollum are certified shot creators. Bill Land noted they are “different players with different strengths that make it hard to guard - can’t pay too much attention to any one guy.”
  • Victor Ease: When he gets a dropstep on his post-ups, he’s able to cover so much more ground than other frontcourt players, while clearing his defender away from any potential contest of the shot.
  • Hustle Sequence of the Game: Midway through the opening half, Malaki Branham missed a bunny near the rim, but recovered quickly to steal the ball and get himself a nice dunk.
  • The Spurs jumped out early with Wembanyama netting two buckets and Sochan deflecting two passes, but a four-point play by McCollum and a three from Ingram erased that. A Trey Murphy III flurry put New Orleans up eight, and his dunk later doubled their score over the hapless hosts. San Antonio (1 for 10) was lucky to exit the period down only 13 to the Pelicans (6 for 12) with the difference being 3-point shooting.
  • In the second quarter, New Orleans seemed content to trade three points for the Spurs’ two to extend its lead. San Antonio’s makes came mostly within five feet, but the Pelicans perimeter players peppered away from distance. Despite Johnson steadying the Spurs’ attack, they were not able to make a dent into the deficit. Cedi Osman spearheaded an 13-3 run with ten points of his own and drew an offensive foul and that drew the Spurs within 51-61.
  • After generating only six shot attempts in the opening half, Vassell scored the first five to start the third. The Pelicans mounted its own 9-0 run to scoot further ahead. Ingram and McCollum continued to apply immense pressure on the Spurs’ defense, which opened things up for their perimeter shooters to extend them out to a 24-point lead. And more threes from unheralded Najee Marshall and Jose Alvarado made it 105-78 Pelicans.
  • In extended ‘tiempo basura,’ Julian Champagnie hit a quintet of pretty threes, and Devonte Graham chipped in two of his own. Alvarado (I nearly typed Altuve) pulled up for a transition three and Cody Zeller scored.

For the Pelicans fan’s perspective, please visit The Bird Writes.

San Antonio heads north to take on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday night at 7:00 PM CDT.