Pelicans falter in fourth quarter of loss to Spurs

After the New Orleans Pelicans took control halfway through Monday’s game against San Antonio, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan and restored order.

Parker scored 21 of his 32 points in the second half and Duncan 16 of his 21 as the Spurs roared past the Pelicans 102-95 at the New Orleans Arena.

Behind that duo, the Spurs (35-13) outscored New Orleans (20-27) 38-19 in the fourth quarter, snatching away the victory. The Spurs had no turnovers in the fourth and just one in the second half.

“(Parker’s) speed and their screening was pretty effective,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. “We were taking the ball out of (our) net, which enabled them to set their defense. We just didn’t have it.”

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.

After the Spurs took the lead with about five minutes left, Parker took control again. He scored six points down the stretch, and his penetration resulted in teammates getting baskets with the Pelicans scrambling 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.

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, and Matt Bonner’s 3 gave San Antonio an 85-84 lead at 5:24. But Gordon tied the score at 87 with a 3-pointer.

The Pelicans weathered the Duncan-Parker 1-2 punch to lead 76-64 at the end of three.

Winning that quarter has been a focus of late, and the Pelicans had done that in two of their past three games. Against, the Spurs, they settled for a 22-22 stalemate. And they had to rally to accomplish that.

San Antonio was within three points of the lead when Austin Rivers sank two free throws. With 2:50 left in the quarter. Rivers fed Morrow for a fast-break 3-pointer, and the lead was 70-62.

That’s when the usually cool Spurs gave the Pelicans a break. With 1:44 showing, Parker drove and hit the floor. He complained vociferously and was hit with a technical foul.

Morrow sank the shot. Then, Duncan added his perspective on it, and he too was teched. Morrow again hit the free throw, getting the lead to 10.