Spurs spike Pelicans
KAWHI Leonard did the early damage and Patty Mills had a pair of clutch shots in overtime as the San Antonio Spurs notched a sixth straight NBA win, 101-98 over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.
Leonard scored a team-high 31 points as he became the first Spurs player with 21 30-point game in a season since David Robinson in the 1995-96 campaign.
The Pelicans scored the first five points of overtime to lead 94-89, but the Spurs answered with eight points in the next 58 seconds to take the lead for good.
“All these guys are pros,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “Nobody’s going to panic. We shot horribly tonight (40 of 95) but made two when it counted in overtime, fortunately. The defence kept us in the game.”
With San Antonio in front 10198, Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge had a chance to ice the game with eight seconds left, but he missed two free-throws.
The Pelicans had one last chance, but DeMarcus Cousins missed a three-pointer from the top of the key.
Leonard showed why he should be in the Most Valuable Player discussion this season.
“If my hand hits the ball, you don’t have to guess where it’s going to go,” he said.
In Phoenix, the Suns used a balanced attack to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 118-111, withstanding another one-man show from Russell Westbrook.
Thunder guard Westbrook had 48 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists in a losing cause, becoming the first to score 40 points in four straight games since Kobe Bryant in 2012.
Eric Bledsoe led the Suns with 18 points. Six Suns scored in double figures and the bench contributed 55 points for the second home win in as many nights.
Westbrook had 20 points in the fourth quarter, posting his first game with at least 40 points and 15 rebounds this season.
He was one assist shy of his 31st triple-double, which would have tied Wilt Chamberlain (1967-68) for the second-most triple doubles in a season. Oscar Robertson holds the NBA record with 41 in 1961-62.
He is also the ninth player in NBA history to score 40 points in four consecutive games in a season, joining superstars such as Chamberlain and Michael Jordan.
In Washington, DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points as the visiting Toronto Raptors reclaimed third place in the Eastern Conference with a 114-106 win over the Wizards.
This was the second game in three nights between the two teams as the Wizards grabbed third place with a 105-96 victory in Toronto on Wednesday.
DeRozan scored 15 of his points in the fourth quarter and added 13 rebounds for the Raptors who improved to 37-25.
John Wall had 30 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, four three-pointers and three blocks for the Wizards, who shot just 37 per cent from the field and fell to 36-24.
Toronto opened their fivegame road trip by letting a 19point lead slip away and briefly trailed in the third quarter before fending off Washington in the final period.
RESULTS: Boston 115 LA Lakers 95, San Antonio 101 New OrleanS 98 (OT), Utah 112 Brooklyn 97, Phoenix 118 Oklahoma City 111, Dallas 104 Memphis 100, Milwaukee 112 LA Clippers 101, Cleveland 135 Atlanta 130, Philadelphia 105 NY Knicks 102, Toronto 114 Washington 106, Orlando 110 Miami 99.
Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard (right) tussles for the ball with Pelicans’ Anthony Davis during their game in New Orleans on Friday.