Bench spurs San Antonio to rout of Pelicans

Danny Sanchez, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SAN ANTONIO -- Bench play is major reason why the San Antonio Spurs are off to one of the best starts in franchise history.
Reserve guards Manu Ginobili and Marco Belinelli combined for 30 points to push the San Antonio Spurs to their 11th consecutive victory, 112-93 over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night.
The Spurs (13-1) had seven players in double figures, four from the bench. Ginobili led the way with 16 points. Belinelli and point guard Tony Parker each scored 14, reserve forward Boris Diaw added 13, reserve guard Patty Mills 12, center Tiago Splitter 11 and forward Tim Duncan 10.
Splitter tweaked his right ankle in the second quarter and did not return to action.
San Antonio's reserves outscored the Spurs' starters 65-47.
"We have a deep team. We're moving the ball and we're making shots," Ginobili said of the Spurs, who are off to their best start since 2010-11. "The last five games we made a ton of shots. And we're playing focused. We got 10 players that play every game, and we're all concentrated and we're hustling and getting hands on loose ball and stuff. Offensively we are just moving the ball, attacking quick and finding open teammates."
Forward Ryan Anderson scored 17 points for New Orleans, which had won three straight. Guards Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday both scored 12, and forward Anthony Davis added 10 for the Pelicans (6-7).
San Antonio used a surgical offense that moved the ball around the floor, collecting 30 assists on 44 field goals while shooting 54.3 percent. For the second game in a row, the Spurs built a 32-point lead; Mills' jump shot made it 101-69 with nine minutes left.
Duncan praised the San Antonio's second unit.
"They've proven that they bring that energy and they really change the pace of the game when they get in there. They've been great all season long," he said. "We sit there and we're excited for them."
The Spurs attacked the young Pelicans in the paint, outscoring them 54-44. It was the 11th time in 14 games this season San Antonio beat the opponent in the paint.
San Antonio was equally strong on the defensive side, limiting the Pelicans to 38.1 percent shooting (37 of 97) and forcing 16 turnovers that led to 21 points.
"Their defense was sound," Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. "They contested a lot of shots, but I thought we were not as strong at the basket tonight. I thought we were flipping shots at the rim as opposed to going to the rim strong."
Parker had 12 points and dished out six of his seven assists by the midway point, helping propel the Spurs to a 57-40 halftime lead.
The Spurs made their first run early, when Ginobili connected on consecutive 3-point shots. The shots ignited an 11-0 first-quarter surge that put the Spurs up 21-10. San Antonio hit four 3-pointers in the quarter. Ginobili hit four of fiv 3-point attempts in the game.
New Orleans came back behind Evans, who scored five points in the 90 seconds of the quarter to cut the lead 27-24.
The Spurs outscored the Pelicans 30-16 in the second quarter, grabbing a 20-point lead on Duncan's layup and free throw with 36 seconds left in the half.
"That's a good team over there," New Orleans center Jason Smith said. "San Antonio is a playoff-tested team, a Finals-tested team. We want to get to that level. We're still learning. We have to fine-tune some things, but tonight we just didn't have it."
New Orleans' reserves scored 57 points.
NOTES: The Spurs' bench entered Monday averaging 42.4 points, fourth in the NBA, and the San Antonio reserves led the league with 11.2 assists a game. ... Pelicans coach Monty Williams has strong ties to San Antonio. He played for the Spurs from 1995 to 1998 and returned to the organization as a coaching intern during the 2004-05 seasons. ... New Orleans began play ranked third in the NBA in steals, averaging 9.75 per game. The Pelicans grabbed 11 steals against the Spurs. ... San Antonio G Tony Parker and F Tim Duncan are the active leaders for most wins as teammates. They have 604 victories spanning 12 seasons, fourth in the NBA history.

What to Read Next