Spurs spike Pelicans

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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.

REUTERS PIC

Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard (right) tus­sles for the ball with Pelicans’ An­thony Davis dur­ing their game in New Or­leans on Fri­day.

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