SAN ANTONIO — LaMarcus Aldridge scored 25 points, Dejounte Murray had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs overcame another late rally to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 98-93 on Thursday night (Friday, Manila time).
New Orleans was playing hours after learning Pelicans owner Tom Benson had died. Benson was hospitalized with the flu on Feb. 16 and never recovered. The 90-year-old native of San Antonio owned both the Pelicans and the Saints.
"For us, the motivation is that we still want to try to do everything we possibly can to try to accomplish the goal that he set out for us. That's to try to put ourselves in a position to win a championship," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said.
Anthony Davis finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds, but fouled out after playing 36 minutes. New Orleans remained in fifth in the West.
San Antonio moved into eighth in the West, holding the final playoff berth after sitting in 10th earlier this week.
The Spurs had dropped out of playoff position in part after blowing a 17-point lead to the Los Angeles Lakers and a 15-points advantage against New Orleans.
New Orleans again erased a 15-point deficit to pull within 91-90, but Davis fouled out soon after.
Jrue Holiday added 24 points for New Orleans.
Davis got into foul trouble midway through the third quarter on a pair of fouls against Manu Ginobili that left the 6-foot-10 forward and his coach irate. Davis was first whistled for a charge with Ginobili standing at the top of the key, resulting in a technical against Gentry. Minutes later Ginobili slowed while dribbling upcourt, causing Davis to crash into him for a foul that would lead to a technical against Davis.
It was just the start of an electric surge by the 40-year-old Ginobili.
Ginobili punched a pass away a pass intended for DeAndre Liggins and raced downcourt for a right-handed layup. He then tossed in a 3-pointer that gave the Spurs a 78-65 lead 2:20 remaining in the third.
Ginobili finished with 11 points.
Pelicans: New Orleans won the first two games of the season series. The teams will play again April 11 in the season finale for both clubs. . The Pelicans' bench was held to 25 points, including 16 from Ian Clark.
Spurs: Aldridge now has 1,379 points this season, his most in a single season since joining the Spurs. . Danny Green went back to the locker room in the third quarter and returned with a bandage under his right eye after a collision on the court. . Murray remained on the court for a couple of minutes after rolling his ankle on Green's shoe while awaiting a rebound.
Pelicans: Host Houston on Saturday night.
Spurs: Host Minnesota on Saturday night.