Belinelli, Spurs top Pelicans; streak at 17
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Marco Belinelli scored 18 points and the San Antonio Spurs never trailed after their opening possession, extending their winning streak to 17 games with a 96-80 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night.
Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili scored 15 points each, Patty Mills added 13 and Tim Duncan had 12 points and eight rebounds.
San Antonio (57-16) extended its lead to 3 games over Oklahoma City (53-19) for the league’s best record.
Reserve guard Brian Roberts had 18 points to lead New Orleans (32-41), which had its five-game winning streak snapped. Austin Rivers added 16 points, Tyreke Evans had 11 points and Al-Farouq Aminu had eight points and 10 rebounds.
New Orleans was without Anthony Davis, its leading scorer and rebounder. Davis injured his left ankle 4 minutes into the Pelicans’ victory over Utah on Friday night.
"It’s a joint/soft tissue injury right now," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said before the game. "He did it in his normal routine. He’s listed as day to day. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow."
Williams said the Pelicans would have a tough task even with Davis and the Spurs showed why early.
San Antonio opened the game on a 23-6 run, with Belinelli picking up where he left off Friday night.
Belinelli was 4 for 5 on 3-pointers against New Orleans after going 6 for 9 on 3-pointers on Friday while scoring a game-high 27 points in a 133-102 victory in Denver.
Belinelli made his first two 3-pointers against the Pelicans after opening with a 15-foot jumper off an assist from Duncan.
Belinelli’s first 3-pointer with 6 minutes remaining in the first quarter gave San Antonio a 16-4 lead. The Spurs would never lead by less than 10 points the rest of the way.
After Alexis Ajinca hit a 17-foot jumper on the game’s opening possession, New Orleans did not score again until Greg Stiemsma’s dunk with 8:21 remaining in the first quarter. The three-minute drought was followed by another three-minute drought.
Austin Rivers’ layup with 30.9 seconds pulled New Orleans within 69-59 with 30.9 seconds left in the third quarter, but Belinelli hit back-to-back 3s to fuel a 12-3 run and San Antonio reasserted its control.
NOTES: Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson sat courtside during the game cheering the Spurs. Mickelson withdrew Saturday from the third round of the Valero Texas Open after injuring an oblique muscle. "I pulled a muscle on my downswing trying to hit the ball hard on the second hole (his 11th)," Mickelson said in a statement. "It just killed and it wouldn’t subside for 10 or 12 seconds." . Spurs W Danny Green (right foot inflammation) and Matt Bonner (right calf strain) both sat out the game. . Roberts played 29 minutes after being listed as day to day with a left knee bone bruise. . The Coyote, the Spurs’ mascot, had a bandaged head and walked with a crutch in jest after being run over by Nuggets guard Aaron Brooks on Wednesday night. . San Antonio F Austin Daye received another rousing ovation from the home crowd upon entering the game. The fifth-year forward has quickly become a fan favorite since scoring 22 points against the Philadelphia 76ers on March 24.