San Antonio Spurs vs New Orleans Pelicans: Takeaways & Star Performer
By Michael Rehome
The San Antonio Spurs (52-9) defeated the New Orleans Pelicans (23-37) 94-86 on Thursday night. Kawhi Leonard led the way scoring 30.
It looked like the Pelicans were in the process of defeating the Spurs yet again at the Smoothie King Center Thursday. In their previous three trips, the Spurs have not been successful. Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge led the fight for San Antonio in the fourth.
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Leonard capped a 30-point, 11-rebound night with a game-sealing 3 with 35 seconds left. The Spurs extended their winning streak to seven games. Leonard was 12-of-22 shooting, including 6 for 10 from 3-point range. Leonard’s offense down the stretch helped a 12-0 San Antonio run to close out the last 3-minutes.
Leonard who is as humble of a guy spoke to the media after his 30-point outburst, talked about his performance.
“I’m just playing in the flow of the game. It doesn’t matter what quarter it is. I’m going to play the right basketball so we can get the right shots. Fortunately, I was able to make shots down the stretch.”
Aldridge added 26 points and began the decisive run with an 11-foot jumper. He later nailed a jumper as he received a no-look pass from Tim Duncan.
Anthony Davis who suffered a bloody lip by the sharp-elbow of Tim Duncan (inadvertent) had 17 points and 13 rebounds for New Orleans, which dropped its third straight. Davis got much needed help from Eric Gordon who seemed to be the thorn in the Spurs side as he added 23.
Late game execution cost the Pelicans. Struggling on the offensive end missing their last six shots and allowing the Spurs to grab offensive rebounds — led to five second-chance points during San Antonio’s game-ending 12-0 run.
Their trip to New Orleans marked the second time this season San Antonio has arrived with a six game winning streak. San Antonio have now won seven straight.
Mar 3, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) is defended by New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the first quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
-Kawhi Leonard Is Really Good
The All-Star Forward become the first player not named Tim Duncan to score 30 points and grab 10 rebounds in a game since Manu Ginobili in 2008 (H/T ESPN Stats & Info)
–David West IronMan
West has now played more NBA games than Bernard King. West has appeared in 875 career contests. (H/T Jordan Howenstine)
The San Antonio Spurs protected the paint as they had a total of 10 blocks. Duncan and Leonard had two each.
Star Performer: Kawhi Leonard
Though Aldridge had himself a game, Leonard’s aggressive style and ‘give me the ball’ attitude and delivering in the final seconds shows his star power and how much confidence the Spurs have in him. Leonard’s shooting has improved tremendously from a year ago. He was 6-of-10 from 3-point on his way to 30 points. He sealed the win after grabbing an offensive rebound, dribbling it out before rising up to see it fall.
–Patty Mills: Nine points, eight assists, four rebounds
–David West: Five points, five rebounds
–Tony Parker: Two points, five assists
–Tim Duncan: Seven points, five rebounds, two blocks
–Danny Green: 11 points, four assists, three rebounds
-Spurs 8-of-21 from 3-point (38-percent)