Leonard leads Spurs past Pelicans, 101-98 in OT
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points, Patty Mills hit a pair of pivotal 3s in overtime, and the San Antonio Spurs beat the New Orleans Pelicans 101-98 on Friday night.
LeMarcus Aldridge had 21 points and 15 rebounds for San Antonio. The Spurs won their sixth straight and dropped New Orleans to 0-4 with DeMarcus Cousins in the lineup.
Cousins had 19 points and 23 rebounds, but missed a step-back 3-pointer that could have tied it as overtime ended. Anthony Davis had 29 points, and Jrue Holiday 26 for the Pelicans.
Mills finished with 15 points, and Pau Gasol added 13, including a clutch 3 that helped San Antonio overcome a five-point deficit in overtime.
Leonard’s steals late in regulation and in overtime also helped the Spurs survive.
The first of Leonard’s big steals came as Holiday dribbled across half court with the Pelicans leading by three in the final minute. Leonard star bolted the other way for a dunk that made it a one-point game.
Gasol tied it with his first of two free throws with 6.6 seconds left in regulation, but missed the second. New Orleans could not capitalize as Holiday missed an off-balance 17-footer as time expired.
New Orleans raced to a five-point lead in overtime when Holiday hit a three and then made a steal to set up Davis’ fast-break dunk. But Gasol hit a corner 3 and the Spurs tied it soon after on Aldridge’s layup.
Leonard then snuffed out Cousins’ attempted bounce pass to Holiday and pushed the ball up to Mills for a transition 3 that put San Antonio back in front, 97-94 with 2:17 left in overtime. Cousins snatched the ball as it fell through the net and mashed it against his forehead in frustration.
Mills added another 3 from the right corner with 1:14 left to make it 100-96. Falling out of bounds after the shot, Mills triumphantly punched the air with his right fist as he rose to his feet.
Neither team led by double digits through regulation, when there were 10 lead changes and 10 ties.
The Spurs led by as many as seven points on Aldridge’s 12-foot turnaround made it 76-69 with 8:53 left in regulation.
Davis and Cousins chipped away with free throws and Cunningham’s corner 3 tied it with about six minutes left in the fourth.
Spurs: Center Dewayne Dedmon fouled out with 7:07 left in the fourth quarter. … Leonard scored at least 10 points for an 89th straight game, the longest such streak by a Spur since Tim Duncan’s streak of 91 in 2003. … The Spurs have tied their third-best record through 60 games in franchise history with the 47-13 marks they had in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. … San Antonio improved to 27-7 on the road. … Leonard scored at least 30 for the 21st time this season.
Pelicans: Holiday reached 3,000 career assists with his fifth in the game. Holiday had announced he’d donate $1,000 to Feb. 7 tornado victims in New Orleans for every point and assist he recorded against San Antonio. His donation total will be $31,000. … The Pelicans shot only 38.5 percent (35 of 91).
Spurs: Host Minnesota on Saturday night.
Pelicans: Visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
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