Pelicans waste hot start, fall at home to Spurs

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What started well did not end well.

Having routed the Spurs in San Antonio just eight days ago, the Pelicans picked up where they left off in that one, taking control in the first quarter to take a 10-point lead over the Spurs at Smoothie King Center Saturday night.

Unfortunately, New Orleans could not maintain that level of play and San Antonio raised its level of play significantly and extracted revenge, edging the Pelicans 107-103 Saturday evening.

The Pelicans led 32-22 after one quarter but San Antonio erased that immediately in the second quarter, outscoring New Orleans 36-25 to take a 58-57 lead at halftime. The Pelicans pulled even at 84-84 going to the final quarter but New Orleans went cold in the final period, scoring just 19 points.

The Spurs wisely focused their defense on CJ McCollum when it mattered most and no one could pick up enough of the slack to push New Orleans across the finish line in victorious fashion.

Dejounte Murray had a triple-double for San Antonio with 15 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds.

The Spurs built a 10-point lead in the final quarter but the Pelicans fought back to within two points and had a shot to take the lead but Jose Alvarado missed a three-pointer with 4.2 seconds remaining and that was the last chance at victory for the Pelicans.

The Spurs outrebounded the Pelicans 49-42 and the Pelicans shot just 42 percent from the field, including only 27 percent from three-point range.

McCollum did all he could, scoring 32 points with six rebounds but was limited to four points in the final quarter while Alvarado finished with a career-high 23 points, along with five rebounds and five assists in another superb effort. Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points, 11 rebounds and six assists but there was little, if any other offensive help.

Coming off a 30-point effort Devonte Graham started quickly, making two three-pointers early but then struggled, missing his last five from three-point range and going just 2 of 10 from the field.

Rookie Herb Jones struggled with a 2 for 11 evening, including missing all five of his three-point attempts.

Without Ingram, the Pelicans need solid contributions from all hands and simply did not get that against the Spurs.

Brandon Ingram missed his tenth straight game and his 24th of the season with his hamstring problem. While the Pelicans have done a good job of mitigating the damage of not having their top scorer, it remains an albatross around what would otherwise be a promising team.

It was a big game for both teams as the Spurs pulled within a game of the Pelicans for the tenth spot in the Western Conference while the Pelicans fell a half game behind the Lakers for the ninth spot.

Another crucial game awaits the Pelicans as they host the Lakers in a game Sunday that New Orleans must have with eight games left in the season.

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Ken Trahan

CEO/Owner

Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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