(REUTERS) – DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points and the San Antonio Spurs kept their playoff hopes alive with a 122-113 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday (Aug 9) afternoon near Orlando.
The Spurs (31-38) improved to 4-2 during the restart and stayed in the thick of the tight battle for the eighth and ninth positions in the Western Conference. The Pelicans (30-40) fell to 2-4 in the restart and reached the brink of elimination.
Rudy Gay added 19 points, Derrick White scored 16 but missed most of the second half because of a bruised left knee, Dejounte Murray had 18 and Marco Belinelli 14.
JJ Redick led New Orleans with 31 points, Zion Williamson scored 25, Brandon Ingram had 17 and Derrick Favors had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
The Spurs led by double figures for most of the game, but the Pelicans used a 28-12 run to cut the lead to four after three quarters.
Gay’s four-point play started the fourth-quarter scoring and his dunk gave San Antonio a 92-81 lead with 8:39 left.
New Orleans twice got within three points, but two free throws by Keldon Johnson, four points by DeRozan and two free throws by Gay gave San Antonio a 113-102 lead with 43 seconds left.
San Antonio led by 17 at halftime and built a 20-point lead twice early in the third quarter before New Orleans made a push.
Williamson scored eight straight points to get the Pelicans within 69-57 before the Spurs regained a 16-point lead.
New Orleans chipped away and got within 78-69 after Redick made a 3-pointer.
Frank Jackson and Nickeill Alexander-Walker each made a 3-pointer as the Pelicans got within 81-77 at the end of the period. San Antonio made just one field goal in the final 4:58.
The Spurs opened a 14-3 lead in the first before the Pelicans scored 11 straight points to pull even. San Antonio closed on a 13-5 run to grab a 27-19 lead at the end of the period.
San Antonio led by as many as 20 points before taking a 62-45 halftime lead.
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