Pelicans falter in fourth quarter of loss to Spurs

The New Orleans Pelicans were in control throughout most of Monday night’s game against San Antonio.

But in the end, the Spurs’ Tony Parker and Tim Duncan restored order.

Using the pick-and-roll to perfection, Parker scored 21 of his 32 points in the second half and Duncan 16 of his 21, and the Spurs roared past the Pelicans in the fourth quarter for a 102-95 victory at the New Orleans Arena.

“We didn’t want to give up 3s,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. “(Parker’s) speed and their screening on (Brian Roberts) and Austin (Rivers) was pretty good tonight.”

Mostly behind Parker, who scored 11 points in the fourth, the Spurs (35-13) outscored New Orleans (20-27) 38-19 in the quarter. The Spurs had no turnovers in the fourth and just one in the second half in beating the Pelicans for the third time this season.

Five of the Pelicans’ 15 turnovers came in the fourth, helping fuel 60 percent San Antonio shooting in the quarter. New Orleans led 54-42 at halftime but was outscored 60-41 in the second half.

“We just stuck with it,” Duncan said. “We were just making too many mistakes, and they were capitalizing. Defensively, we were a lot more solid in the fourth quarter, and we made some shots, and that gave us a chance.”

The Spurs’ charge came after guard/forward Tyreke Evans injured ribs in a collision with San Antonio forward Matt Bonner near the end of the first quarter. Evans, bent over holding his ribs after the collision, played just 1 minute, 9 seconds in the second quarter and didn’t play in the second half.

“I watched him when he came back out for the second half,” Williams said. “He tried to shoot the ball and couldn’t even lift his arms.”

The loss was the second in three games for New Orleans, which had won three of its previous four.

Anthony Morrow, came off the bench to lead the Pelicans with 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Eric Gordon scored 19 points, hitting clutch shots to keep the Pelicans in the game. Anthony Davis had 17 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks but shot 6-of-21.

“It wasn’t anything they were doing,” Davis said. “I had good looks. I missed a lot of shots I usually make, even some layups.”

The Spurs outscored the Pelicans 21-8 in taking an 85-84 lead with about five minutes left on a 3-pointer by Bonner. Parker scored six points down the stretch, and his penetration resulted in teammates getting baskets as the Pelicans scrambled defensively.

Parker made a runner with 2:29 left that gave the Spurs a 93-89 lead. Duncan then got a layup off a pass from Danny Green, again beating the rotation after Parker passed to him.

The Pelicans squandered what had been a 14-point lead in the third quarter, when San Antonio charged back in the fourth.

Reserve point guard Patty Mills got the avalanche started by making a jumper and a 3-pointer on consecutive trips, bringing the Spurs to 82-75. Then Green, who was 0-of-6 in his first game back from a fractured left hand, sank a 3.

Parker tied the score at 82 with a drive, then came Bonner’s 3. But Gordon tied the score at 87 with a 3-pointer.

The late crash by the Pelicans came after they had weathered the Duncan-Parker 1-2 punch to lead 76-64 at the end of three quarters. Winning the quarter has been a focus of late, and the Pelicans had done that in two of their past three games in winning. Against, the Spurs, they settled for a 22-22 stalemate.

NOTE: Point guard Jrue Holiday was absent for the second consecutive game. Holiday, who has been out since Jan. 10 with a stress fracture in his right tibia, was being re-evaluated by doctors. He is expected back soon.