Spurs, Pelicans clash while battling for last play-in slot

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The New Orleans Pelicans are clinging to the last play-in position in the NBA’s Western Conference.

The San Antonio Spurs played Friday night like a team ready to make a strong push for that spot.

The Spurs, who routed the Hawks 136-121 on Friday night in Atlanta, will visit the Pelicans on Saturday night.San Antonio, which had lost four of five before Friday, pulled within a game of 11th-place Portland and 1½ games of New Orleans with the win.

Dejounte Murray led the way with his 11th triple-double of the season and set a franchise record with his 15th career triple-double, breaking a tie with David Robinson. He tied career-highs of 32 points and 슬롯머신사이트 15 assists while grabbing 10 rebounds.He made 11 of 18 shots from the floor, including 2 of 5 3-pointers.

«That’s who I look up to,» Devin Vassell, who scored 20 points for the Spurs, said of Murray. «That’s my guy. That’s my dog for life. He helps all of us go. So when we see him getting out and just being Dejounte, it fires all of us up. He’s special. That’s all I can say.»

The Spurs made 8 of 10 3-pointers to take a 43-29 lead at the end of the first quarter.They coasted and finished with a season-high 18 3-pointers.

San Antonio held Atlanta, which is second in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage, to 32.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

«It was a great team win — defensive side, offensive side,» Murray said.»We played together and we had fun.»

The Pelicans acquired guard CJ McCollum in trade with Portland on Tuesday with the expectation that he would boost their playoff chances, but his first game with his new team didn’t go the way they had hoped. Visiting Miami beat New Orleans 112-97 on Thursday, ending the Pelicans’ four-game winning streak.

«Our team was a little out of our normal rhythm,» coach Willie Green said.

McCollum made just 6 of 21 shots, including 2 of 10 3-pointers, while scoring 15 points.

«I’m thankful to be here, happy to be able to play,» McCollum said of his whirlwind transition from Portland to New Orleans.»I’m a little tired but I’m going to get a good night’s sleep. (I was) a little flat, but I like the energy that we played with. I thought we competed. If I shoot the ball a little bit better, it’s a more competitive game down the stretch.»

Green started McCollum alongside Devonte’ Graham in the backcourt.Forward/center Jaxson Hayes, who was effective starting alongside center Jonas Valanciunas during the winning streak, returned to the bench.

«I think we have the ability to space the floor more, being able to attack the basket with our guards and our wings,» Green said.»We can still get to our big lineup, which will be important for us. For three-and-a-half quarters, we were right there, and then we just kind of ran out of gas.»

The Spurs won the first meeting between the Southwest Division rivals, 112-97 on Dec.12 in San Antonio.

-Field Level Media


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