NEW ORLEANS: Brandon Ingram had 28 points and 11 rebounds and the New Orleans Pelicans held on for a 98-95 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night.
The Spurs had a chance to tie it after Steven Adams, whose put-back dunk put New Orleans up 97-91 with two minutes left, missed a pair of free throws with 11 seconds to go.
But Eric Bledsoe blocked DeMar DeRozan’s 3-point attempt from behind in the final seconds to preserve the victory for New Orleans.
Zion Williamson had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Pelicans, scoring about half of his points on dunks. Lonzo Ball had 16 points and five steals, and Josh Hart had 12 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.
Rudy Gay scored 22 points and Lonnie Walker IV had 16 for the Spurs, who lost for the first time after winning their first two regular season games. Keldon Johnson had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Dejounte Murray had 13 points, but also turned the ball over six times.
New Orleans led by 15 in the third quarter when JJ Redick hit a pull-up jumper while being fouled by Gay and completed the 3-point play to make it 79-64.
The Spurs then suddenly seized momentum with a 21-3 run that put them back in front early in the fourth quarter.
Patty Mills’ scored seven during the surge, starting with his 3-point. Murray added a banked, driving floater and layup, and Gay’s back-to-back layup and driving floater put San Antonio in front 85-82
The game remained tight after that, with the lead changing hands three more times.
The Pelicans, who finished the previous season in the NBA’s bubble at Disney World because of the
pandemic, were playing their first regular-season game in New Orleans since March 6.
About 750 ticketed fans were permitted to attend the game in the lower bowl, but none within five closest rows to the court. A number of luxury suites that hang below the upper deck also were occupied. Team guests occupied a couple rows of floor seating opposite benches and spaced farther from the sideline that in normal times. Masks were required.
Many fans wore Pelicans or Spurs gear and gleefully danced in the stands during timeouts.
Spurs: DeRozan had 10 assists, and Mills finished with 10 points. San Antonio had won the previous four meetings, with its last loss in the series coming Nov. 19, 2018, in New Orleans. … The Spurs were playing their second game in two nights after beating Toronto in San Antonio on Saturday night. … San Antonio turned the ball over 15 times to the Pelicans’ eight turnovers.
Pelicans: Williamson and Ingram combined to shoot just 5 of 20 from the field in the first half, but New Orleans led 47-45 at halftime. … Redick missed his first six of his 3-point attempts, normally his forte, and New Orleans shot just 20.8% (5 of 24) from deep.
Spurs: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night in the first of three straight home games.
Pelicans: Begin a two-game road trip at Phoenix on Tuesday night.
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