Tuesday, April 12, 2016

It took 6 games, but the Spurs defeat Pelicans, 4-2.

In a surprisingly close first game, the Spurs won 91-89. The hungry Pelicans would not lay down after a hot start by the Spurs. San Antonio struggled with turnovers and fouls as the game went on, allowing New Orleans to gain momentum. Eric Gordon made a shot through a foul for a 39-44 lead at halftime.

The Spurs regained a 63-60 lead after the 3rd quarter, with improved defense, but shots still refused to fall, as Pelicans took a 9-0 run. A three-pointer by Tony Parker held them off, but another small burst gave New Orleans a 4-pt lead.

Clutch play by Kawhi Leonard regained the lead, despite a hot Eric Gordon who cut the lead to just a point. New Orleans had three shots on the final possession, but missed them all in the loss. Kawhi Leonard had 32 points over Eric Gordon's efficient 25. Danny Green and Ray Allen struggled for the Spurs, but so did the returning Anthony Davis with only 5 points and 9 rebounds against Tim Duncan's 12 points.

The Spurs won 94-86 in Game 2, courtesy of a better start than Game 1. However, their shooters still struggled and Tim Duncan did, saved only by Anthony Davis still working out the kinks against the Spurs' tough defense. Danny Green focused on Eric Gordon, ordered by Coach Pop to not let him get hot again.

Ray Allen did make a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer and the Spurs won the 3rd quarter as well. Allen would make 21 points despite the struggle to score from deep and Andrei Kirilenko stepped up with 21 points and 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Jrue Holiday emerged as another threat with 25 points, but Eric Gordon was held to only 11 points.

The Pelicans would win Game 3, 117-111 in New Orleans, despite 12 early points by Tim Duncan. The Spurs as a team lost their rhythm. A massive 20-4 run by the Pelicans put SA down by 15. Poor shooting made it possible, and Jrue Holiday surged to 28 points and getting foul calls to SA's chagrin.

The Spurs went on a huge run to cut the lead to only 5 to begin the 4th quarter, but Tiago Splitter & Tim Duncan both missed easy shots at the basket that would've tied the game. Defense by Green cut the lead to 3, but a defensive breakdown led to an open three-pointer for Eric Gordon. A heartbreaking loss despite a huge comeback for San Antonio, as the Pelicans made this a series.

Anthony Davis had 12 points and 17 rebounds, Eric Gordon had 19 points. Duncan scored only 7 more points after his 12 point breakout, and Kawhi & Parker combined for just 34 points.

The Spurs had a meltdown in the 4th quarter of Game 4, despite playing their best before that point. The Pelicans rallied to a 10-pt lead as a result and Kawhi Leonard fouled out. Tyreke Evans recuperated from injury for 25 points/11 rebounds/5 assists as the Spurs defense fell apart, losing the quarter 37-25 and losing the game.

Anthony Davis had 14 points and 15 rebounds in Game 4, Gordon had 21 again, and despite Ginobili's strong defense of Jrue Holiday (5-16) and Kawhi's 28 points, the Pelicans took this one.

Game 5 saw the Spurs regain their strength, winning 114-107. Duncan had 4 early fouls, but Kawhi Leonard took charge. The Spurs got blocks, made shots and earned a lead in this series. Leonard finished it with a huge jam late, winning the 4th quarter 27-14. Tony Parker had his first big game with 27 points and Kawhi Leonard's beastly effort got 32, holding Tyreke Evans to only 7 points.

In the loss, Anthony Davis had 16 points, Eric Gordon had 24 and Holiday had 18. Manu Ginobili made a clutch 3 with 13 points.

Game 6, the Spurs ended this fierce battle, winning 118-108, forcing shot clock violations, turnovers and bad shots by the Pelicans. It was 21-12 after one, with 3 early fouls for Anthony Davis. A monstrous 14-0 run made it 37-18, a sign that this was the end for the gutsy New Orleans team. 3s continued to fall for the Spurs, making a 57-35 lead at halftime. The Pelicans made one last burst for a 9 point deficit only, but Anthony Davis fouled out, feeling the frustration of Kawhi Leonard from previous games. A three-pointer by Ray Allen iced this series, as the lead grew back to 15 again.

Kawhi Leonard had 21 points in the final game, Ginobili had 17, Green had 14, Allen had 13, Marion had 12 with an inspiring 4 blocks, Diaw had 12 and Parker had 9 with 5 assists. Eric Gordon had just 16 points, with Holiday scoring 24. The playoff veteran Kendrick Perkins got 16 points and 8 rebounds once Davis fouled out with just 12 points & 11 rebounds. Tyreke Evans went 3-8 from the floor.

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