DeRozan leads Spurs to victory vs. Pelicans
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan had 32 points and 11 assists and the short-handed San Antonio Spurs held on to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 117-114 on Saturday night.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points off the bench in his second game back after missing six games because of a sore right hip.
Brandon Ingram had 29 points and Zion Williamson added 23 points and 14 rebounds for New Orleans. The Pelicans have lost two straight and seven of 10.
DeRozan’s returned after missing a game because of his father's death. It was needed boost for the Spurs, who played their first home game since Feb. 9 before embarking on what was supposed to be seven-game trip. San Antonio’s annual month-long excursion was shortened when the team had to postpone four games after multiple players contracted COVID-19 or encountered someone with the virus.
Rudy Gay, Keldon Johnson, Derrick White, Devin Vassell and Quinndary Weatherspoon all missed their sixth straight game while following the league’s mandate for COVID-19.
The Spurs leaned on DeRozan with two starters and two key reserves sidelined. The 12-year veteran responded with his fifth 30-point game and third in his last seven outings.
It marked the fifth time DeRozan has had at least 25 points and 10 assists since joining the Spurs in 2018. He had only one turnover in 36 minutes against the Pelicans.
Dejounte Murray added 18 points, and Lonnie Walker IV had 17 for San Antonio.
Eric Bledsoe had 19 points, and Lonzo Ball added 16 for New Orleans.
After trailing by as many as eight points in the opening quarter, the Spurs captured their initial lead at 33-30 with 21.6 seconds remaining in the first on Aldridge’s lone 3-pointer.
San Antonio finished 12 for 32 on 3-pointers.
Pelicans: G JJ Redick missed the game with right hamstring tightness. Redick had nine points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes in Thursday’s 129-125 loss to Milwaukee. It is the first game Redick has missed due to injury, but he did not play in three games due to coach’s decision. … Adams played in his second consecutive game after missing two games with an ankle injury. He averaged 10.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in those two games.
Spurs: San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said he is unsure when the five players sidelined by COVID-19 protocols will return, but he expects it to be a slow process. “They’re not all going to come back at the same time,” Popovich said. “Some may be back before the break, maybe some of them won’t, I just don’t know. But we won’t have a whole group before the break, for sure.” ... Walker set a career high this season with 44 3-pointers in 27 games. He had 41 3-pointers in 61 games last season. … The Spurs have used seven tarting lineups this season, including a change to their starting unit in each of their past two games.
Pelicans: Host Utah on Monday night.
Spurs: Host Brooklyn on Monday night.