It was a hard-fought battle in San Antonio on Saturday night when the Spurs pulled off a tough 117-114 win against New Orleans. With 5 players out for health and safety protocols (including regular rotation players Keldon Johnson, Rudy Gay, Derrick White, and Devin Vassell) six Spurs still managed to come through with double-figure performances, led by the returning DeMar DeRozan (missed 2/24 game vs. Thunder for personal reasons), who ended the night with 32 points and 11 assists.
Strong point contributions also came from LaMarcus Aldridge with 21, Lonnie Walker IV with 17, Patty Mills with 13, and Trey Lyles with 10. Not to mention Dejounte Murray, who was all over the place with 18 points, 6 boards, 7 assists and 3 steals. These impactful individual efforts came together to down a Pelicans team led by a young core who put forth a valiant effort. New Orleans were led by Brandon Ingram who poured in 29, Zion Williamson who came away with 23 and 14 rebounds, Eric Bledsoe and Lonzo Ball who contributed 19 and 16, respectively.
Star of the Game: DeMar DeRozan
After not playing in a game in nearly 2 weeks due to the team going through health and safety protocols, combined with his recent loss of a close family member, DeRozan showed no rust in his Saturday night performance. His aggressiveness secured him 32 points on 11 for 18 FG shooting and 10 for 12 FT shooting, while his playmaking provided 11 assists for his teammates to capitalize. He was an all-around force and leader for the Spurs in this win. (Many might say he deserved an All-Star spot.)
Surprise Performance(s): Trey Lyles, Dejounte Murray, LaMarcus Aldridge
Starting with Lyles; after playing spotty minutes throughout the first half of the season, Trey contributed 36 minutes in the win on Saturday which led to his 10 points and 7 rebounds. He put forth high-quality minutes and was a big part of this close win.
As for Murray, although it should no longer be a surprise, there was nothing he could not accomplish on the floor against the Pelicans. His 18 points were impressive, but it was more so his 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, and constant aggressiveness on both ends that spearheaded this Spurs win. Because of his length, strength, quickness, and style of play, Dejounte continues to improve each and every game at being an unavoidable impact on the floor.
For Aldridge, he has spent the last two games coming off the bench after being out for six games with soreness in his right hip. It remains unclear if this will come to be his permanent new role, but it showed to be a good fit when he put up 21 points in 23 minutes in the win over the Pelicans.
The Spurs will look to create a win-streak when they face the explosive Brooklyn Nets in San Antonio on Monday, March 1. It can be assumed that they will still be short-handed, but Spurs fans are hopeful that they can make the most of this home stand.
Vs. Brooklyn Nets, Monday, March 1st at 5:30pm Pacific
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