November 27, 2022

November 21, 2022;  New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  New Orleans Pelicans guard Dyson Daniels (11) appears to pass the ball to Golden State Warriors forward Anthony Lamb (40) during the second half at Smoothie King Center.  Mandatory credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Heading out for the Thanksgiving holiday, the New Orleans Pelicans kick off Wednesday night in San Antonio to take on the struggling Spurs.

The Pelicans have won four of their past five games, including 128-83 over Golden State with few players on Monday in the final of a six-game homestand. Brandon Ingram scored a season-high 34 points in the win, while Devonte’ Graham added a season-high 19 points from the bench.

New Orleans also got 15 points from CJ McCollum while Jonas Valanciunas had 10 points and 13 rebounds and Jose Alvarado had 10 points. The Pelicans created 26 turnovers, 15 of them steals, against a Golden State team that was without Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins.

“Golden State didn’t have their guys tonight,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said afterwards. “We just had to play to our standards. We have to respect our opponents. We just had to play our style. I thought we did that tonight. It’s good to win.”

New Orleans had a 19-point lead after one quarter and led by 24 points at halftime. Ingram had 20 points before the break.

As if New Orleans needed it, Zion Williamson was back after missing three games with a bruised foot. He had nine points and four assists in 23 minutes.

The Spurs are heading home after a disastrous five-game journey that saw them lose twice in San Francisco, Portland, Sacramento and Los Angeles, averaging 23 points per game. The closest game they came on the trip was a 117-110 loss to the Trail Blazers. That was the only game of five where San Antonio had all its regular starters available.

The Spurs’ most recent setback was a 123-92 loss on Sunday to the Lakers, who won easily despite playing without the injured LeBron James. San Antonio trailed 18 at halftime, then missed the first 11 shots of the third quarter to quiet any idea of ​​getting back into the game.

Devin Vassell led San Antonio with 17 points, with Keldon Johnson and Jeremy Sochan scoring 12 each, and Tre Jones and Josh Richardson adding 10 each. San Antonio, who have dropped 10 of their last 11 games, played without Jakob Poeltl, who was the top scorer in two of the last three games.

“We have a young team. Winning is hard in the NBA,” said Gorgui Dieng, who started in Poeltl’s place. “They are learning. Whether you win or lose, just make sure you have the right habits tonight was a very bad game for us.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich also missed the game after falling ill beforehand. Assistant coach Brett Brown managed the team in his absence.

“The end of a long road trip, five games in seven nights, will always be difficult,” said Brown after Sunday’s defeat. “We are better than we played (Sunday). They competed at a much higher level than tonight. We will respond. It is a proud group.”

Wednesday’s game is the first game in a three-game homestand for San Antonio. Nine of the Spurs’ next 11 games are at home.

– Field level media

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