12/01 22:41 CST With Wembanyama out for San Antonio, Pelicans extend Spurs'
skid to 14 games
With Wembanyama out for San Antonio, Pelicans extend Spurs' skid to 14 games
By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) --- With Jonas Valanciunas asserting himself near the basket
and Trey Murphy hitting timely 3-pointers in his first appearance of the
season, the New Orleans Pelicans didn't need big games from usual top scorers
Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.
It also helped that their opponent was the reeling San Antonio Spurs, who
haven't won a game in weeks and were without top overall draft choice Victor
Valanciunas had 24 points and 12 rebounds, Murphy hit four second-half 3s to
finish with 18 points and the Pelicans beat San Antonio 121-106 on Friday night
to send the Spurs to their 14th straight loss.
"It's a blessing to have the guys available that can come in a produce right
away," Pelicans coach Willie Green said, adding that "getting Trey back was
huge," and that the Spurs "didn't have an answer" for Valanciunas in the paint.
"I was just physical, going for offensive boards, crashing, doing my stuff as I
usually do," Valanciunas said after his eighth double-double this season.
The 7-foot-3 Wembanyama was held out because of right hip tightness. San
Antonio's losing streak is now its second-longest. The Spurs lost 16 in a row
last season, when they finished 22-60 and won the NBA draft lottery.
CJ McCollum scored 19 points and Herb Jones added 17 points and three steals
for New Orleans, which won its second straight.
Murphy missed New Orleans' first 19 games while rehabilitating from
arthroscopic surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee.
His first basket of the season was an end-to-end layup in transition. The 2023
All-Star Dunk contest runner-up later highlighted his return with a driving,
soaring, tomahawk jam.
"Just seeing an open lane, I just had to get up there and show people I still
got my athleticism," said Murphy, who also went 4 of 10 from 3-point range.
Ingram scored 14 points, Williamson had 12 points and the pair had seven
assists apiece as they took on more of a facilitator role than usual.
Wembanyama 's absence came a night after he had 21 points, 12 rebounds and four
blocked shots in a 137-135 loss to Atlanta in San Antonio.
The 7-foot-3 Frenchman missed a game for the first time after starting San
Antonio's first 18 games, during which he averaged 19.3 points, 9.7 rebounds
and 2.7 blocks.
Devin Vassell led the Spurs in New Orleans with 14 points. Jeremy Sochan scored
13 points and Charles Bassey grabbed 11 rebounds.
"Great back-to-back effort, but the same bugaboos keep cropping up," Spurs
coach Gregg Popovich said, adding that his team's 19 turnovers "really put us
behind the 8 ball, and we had a lot of undisciplined fouls."
The issues with turnovers and fouls "are two things they just got to figure
out," Popovich added.
Most of the game was played with just two officials on the court after Scott
Wall limped off in the first quarter, leaving Ed Malloy and Aaron Smith to
carry on without him.
Spurs: At Minnesota on Wednesday night.
Pelicans: At Chicago on Saturday night.
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