Mar 31, 2016 12:53 AM
Spurs beat Pelicans, set NBA record with 38-0 start at home
The Associated Press
SAN ANTONIO (AP) The San Antonio Spurs set the NBA record with their 38th straight home victory to open the season and matched the highest win total in franchise history.
And none of them cared.
Manu Ginobili scored 20 points and the Spurs beat the injury-depleted New Orleans Pelicans 100-92 on Wednesday night to win their 47th straight home game overall dating to last season.
"It doesn't mean anything," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "Absolutely nothing. Maybe a cup of coffee, maybe."
That's more than the rest of the Spurs would expect.
"It doesn't matter to me," San Antonio point guard Tony Parker said. "No. Championship (is all that matters)."
San Antonio topped the 37-0 start by the Chicago Bulls during their record 72-victory season in 1995-96. Golden State (67-7) has an existing 36-game home winning streak to open the season, giving the Warriors a chance to end up with the record or match it.
The Warriors and Spurs play twice in the coming two weeks, facing off on each other's home court with their home streaks possibly on the line.
The Spurs are 63-12, matching the franchise record for victories set in 2005-06.
"If you're going to go undefeated at home, you've got to be a team that has championship potential," New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said. "Obviously, (the Spurs) have championship potential. They've proven that over the last 15 years."
Kawhi Leonard had 16 points in 22 minutes during his return from a three-game absence, showing no discomfort after bruising his right quadriceps on March 23. The 6-foot-7 forward hit three long jumpers to open the game, including his only 3-pointer in five attempts.
"He looked like he hadn't missed a beat," Popovich said. "He's ready to go, we just limited his minutes tonight to make sure that everything's OK. He'll probably get back to normal on Saturday, minutes-wise I mean."
Danny Green finished with 16 points, going 4 for 6 on 3-pointers on a hot-shooting night behind the arc for San Antonio. The Spurs were 12 for 24 on 3s.
Ginobili was 5 for 6 on 3-pointers, including 3 for 4 in the first half.
Alexis Ajinca had 18 points for New Orleans, which was without nine players due to injury. Jordan Hamilton added 14 points in his first start in his third game with the team.
"We can't focus on (their injuries)," Parker said "We have to focus on what we have to do to get ready for the playoffs."
New Orleans remained within seven points throughout the first half, but San Antonio wore down the short-handed Pelicans in the second half. The Spurs had 13 players log at least six minutes against the Pelicans' nine-player bench.
San Antonio outscored New Orleans 27-16 in the third quarter, picking up assists on eight of its 12 field goals.
Pelicans: The Pelicans signed James Ennis to a 10-day contract on Wednesday after receiving a hardship exemption from the NBA. The 6-foot-7 forward was averaging 18.8 points and 6.0 rebounds for Iowa in the Development League. ... New Orleans was without six of the 10 players who participated in its last game against San Antonio on March 3. Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon and Norris Cole, who accounted for 51 points in the Pelicans' 94-86 loss, were among those missing Wednesday's game. ... New Orleans has used 36 different starting lineups this season.
Spurs: Popovich sat David West for rest, marking the first time all season the 35-year-old veteran has taken a scheduled night off. The 6-foot-9 forward was in uniform but did not play Jan. 12 at Detroit and March 28 at Memphis due to a coach's decision. ... Entering Wednesday's game, LaMarcus Aldridge was averaging 23.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks through 13 games in March. He had 11 points, six rebounds and one block against New Orleans. ... San Antonio's previous best after 75 games was 59-16 in 2013-14.
Gentry, who was a Golden State assistant coach last year during Stephen Curry's MVP season, sees a similar marked improvement by Leonard.
"You watch Kawhi and what he's become and how he's evolved as a player," Gentry said. "If Golden State wasn't doing what they are doing, which is historic by all accounts, then I think you would hear a lot more about Kawhi being the MVP of the league. He's made himself that kind of player."
IN THE PAST
After its 63-win season, San Antonio lost a seven-game series to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals in 2006.
It's a season the Spurs have not forgotten.
"That's for sure," Parker said, before smiling. "Why do you have to bring it up?"
Pelicans: Host Denver on Thursday.
Spurs: Host Toronto on Saturday.