San Antonio Spurs vs. New Orleans Pelicans Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 17th 2023


The San Antonio Spurs will try to build on a rare win when they host the surging New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday afternoon in a Western Conference matchup.

The Spurs bring some momentum from a victory into a game for the first time in a month-and-a-half after dominating the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers 129-115 on Friday and snapping a franchise-high 18-game losing streak.

Devin Vassell scored a career-high 36 points in the win — which was San Antonio’s first since Nov. 2 — while Keldon Johnson poured in 17 points, all of them in the first half.

Yes, the Lakers were without three dinged-up starters and playing their third road game in four nights, but that didn’t matter to the Spurs and their fans.

“It didn’t feel like a normal win,” Vassell said afterward. “You saw people jumping around on the side. It’s special. This is a special group.”

Zach Collins had 16 points, Cedi Osman scored 15 and rookie Victor Wembanyama racked up 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Spurs, who finished with seven players in double-figure scoring.

“It does feel good — kind of felt like a playoff game to me,” Wembanyama said. “We have to feel good about it. We love the feeling. We want to repeat it. We’re going to keep on working.”

Even with the balanced contribution and a 25-points first-half lead, San Antonio had to battle a sluggish third quarter to snap the dubious losing skid.

“We made shots, but overall the defense was pretty good,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “It’s been pretty good and improved significantly, but offensively we still have a ways to go.”

The Pelicans head to the Alamo City after a 112-107 win at Charlotte on Friday. Jonas Valanciunas racked up a season-high 29 points along with 13 rebounds in the victory, New Orleans’ third straight to tie a season best.

CJ McCollum had 19 — with 13 of them in the fourth quarter as the Pelicans held on after nearly coughing up a nine-point lead with 1:10 to play. Zion Williamson added 21 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans in his return to the floor after missing Wednesday’s contest in Washington.

Trey Murphy III hit for 13 points off the bench and Herbert Jones scored 11 points in the win.

“We have the potential to be a really good team,” McCollum said. “We just have to take advantage of our practice days. Stay focused on the task at hand. And fall in love with the process. If we continue to fall in love with the process of working each day, we will have great results.”

New Orleans coach Willie Green lauded Valanciunas’ effort in the win.

“We put the ball in his hands and he either made the right play, either scoring or getting to the free-throw line 90 percent of the time,” Green said. “That is something that is a luxury for us. If we don’t have it going, we can just throw it to JV.”

The Pelicans beat San Antonio 121-106 at home on Dec. 1 in the teams’ first meeting of the season and have won six straight overall against the Spurs.

–Field Level Media

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