Basketball: Spurs keep playoff hopes alive, dispatch Pelicans
(REUTERS) – DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points and the San Antonio Spurs kept their playoff hopes alive with a 122-113 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday (Aug 9) afternoon near Orlando.
The Spurs (31-38) improved to 4-2 during the restart and stayed in the thick of the tight battle for the eighth and ninth positions in the Western Conference. The Pelicans (30-40) fell to 2-4 in the restart and reached the brink of elimination.
Rudy Gay added 19 points, Derrick White scored 16 but missed most of the second half because of a bruised left knee, Dejounte Murray had 18 and Marco Belinelli 14.
The Spurs led by double figures for most of the game, but the Pelicans used a 28-12 run to cut the lead to four after three quarters.
Gay’s four-point play started the fourth-quarter scoring and his dunk gave San Antonio a 92-81 lead with 8:39 left.
New Orleans twice got within three points, but two free throws by Keldon Johnson, four points by DeRozan and two free throws by Gay gave San Antonio a 113-102 lead with 43 seconds left.
San Antonio led by 17 at halftime and built a 20-point lead twice early in the third quarter before New Orleans made a push.
Williamson scored eight straight points to get the Pelicans within 69-57 before the Spurs regained a 16-point lead.
Frank Jackson and Nickeill Alexander-Walker each made a 3-pointer as the Pelicans got within 81-77 at the end of the period. San Antonio made just one field goal in the final 4:58.
The Spurs opened a 14-3 lead in the first before the Pelicans scored 11 straight points to pull even. San Antonio closed on a 13-5 run to grab a 27-19 lead at the end of the period.
San Antonio led by as many as 20 points before taking a 62-45 halftime lead.
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