NEW ORLEANS — Anthony Davis nearly willed a short-handed Pelicans group to an inspired win over division rival San Antonio Monday night.
Instead, New Orleans once again couldn’t overcome late-game mistakes and poor defensive sets down the stretch to hold off the Spurs.
More importantly, the Pelicans didn’t have an answer for Tony Parker, whose tough, lane-driving layup gave the Spurs a four-point lead New Orleans couldn’t overcome with less than a minute to play.
And for the sixth straight game, the Pelicans finished with fewer points than their opponent, falling to San Antonio 101-95.
Davis finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds, three steals, two assists and two blocked shots and his activity under the basket played a large part in San Antonio’s Tim Duncan fouling out midway through the fourth quarter.
Parker, though, finished with 27 points, hit 9 of 10 free throws and dished out seven assists for San Antonio (30-8), the best team in the loaded Western Conference.
“I was just trying to be aggressive,” Parker said of the layup. “I was in attack mode. When I saw TD go out, I knew I was going to be aggressive and try to create for myself or for my teammates. That shot was one of those shot I like to do it.”
The game was lost in the final 5 minutes, 15 seconds, when the Pelicans (15-22) turned the ball over three times, missed a free throw and went 2-for-7 shooting.
“We had our chances tonight and just didn’t execute down the stretch. We had three costly turnovers in the last few minutes of the game,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. “It’s not youth. Even though the young guys were out there making those mistakes, obviously we’ve got to learn from that.”
The Pelicans saw a 10-point third-quarter lead disappear when San Antonio went on a 13-4 run. That was followed by a four-minute stretch in which New Orleans went 0-for-8, allowing the Spurs to go from five points down to leading by six.
Brian Roberts, starting at point guard with Jrue Holiday out due to a stress fracture of his right tibia, finished with 19 points and four assists. Austin Rivers, meanwhile, added 11 points on 5 of 11 shooting.
The Pelicans will host Houston on Wednesday.