The New Orleans Pelicans did what they had to do to extend their season with a 108-103 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night at the Smoothie King Center.
New Orleans jumped out to a huge first half advantage, but had to hold on down the stretch for the five-point win. The Pelicans got out to a 34-19 lead after one quarter and a 63-47 lead at the break before the Spurs made their run. San Antonio was able to cut the deficit to 104-101 on a 3-point shot from Patty Mills with 11 seconds remaining before the Pelicans closed the game with four straight free-throws to secure the victory.
Anthony Davis led the way as the Pelicans clinched the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. He finished with 31 points on 12-for-26 shooting from the floor to go along with 13 rebounds, three blocks, two assists and two steals.
He had plenty help as four other Pelicans scored in double figures. Tyreke Evans had a huge performance with 19 points on 9-for-15 shooting with a game-high 11 assists, four rebounds and three steals. Eric Gordon added 14 points while Norris Cole chipped in with 13 points on 60 percent shooting from the floor as well as three steals and two assists. Jrue Holiday also came up big with 11 points, four assists and three rebounds in just his third game back on the floor after missing much of the season.
Tony Parker and Boris Diaw led the way for San Antonio in the costly loss. Parker totaled 23 points of 11-for-17 shooting with six assists while Diaw registered 20 points off the bench 10-for-14 shooting from the field with five rebounds and five assists.
Tim Duncan added 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting with 10 rebounds and six assists while Kawhi Leonard managed a double-double of his own with 14 points and 10 boards. Mills chipped in with 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the floor with three helpers in just 11 minutes of action.
Jimmer Fredette did not play for the third consecutive game and the 32nd time in 82 games. On the season, he averaged 3.6 points on 38 percent shooting from the floor, including 45.8 percent from inside the arc and 18.8 percent from 3-point range (9-for-48). Where he shot it the best was from the charity stripe where he converted on 95.6 percent of his attempts on the year (43-of-45). He added 1.2 assists, .8 rebounds and .3 steals in 10.3 minutes a night.
Up next for Fredette and the Pelicans is a first round playoff matchup with the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors earned the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with the best record in the NBA under first-year coach Steve Kerr.