SAN ANTONIO -- The New Orleans Pelicans couldn’t help but feel they gave a win away to the San Antonio Spurs, especially since they essentially had.
After inadvertently tipping in a game-tying shot for San Antonio at the close of regulation, New Orleans was unable to hold a early lead in overtime, falling 95-93 on Wednesday night.
“I feel so bad for our guys,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. “To fight like we did on a back-to-back. To have a game in your hands and then to lose it in regulation like that. Then to fight like heck in overtime and not be able to pull it out, I just feel bad for the team. I have no complaints about anything. It just didn’t go our way.
New Orleans had a chance to win back-to-back games for the first time this season while beating the defending champions for the third time, but it slipped out of their hands.
Anthony Davis gave the Pelicans an 84-82 lead with 0.7 seconds remaining in regulation by following up Tyreke Evans’ miss with an emphatic dunk. Following a Spurs timeout, Tim Duncan was credited with tipping in Boris Diaw’s inbounds pass at the rim to send the game to overtime.
“We wanted to get this win and start they year off right,” Davis said. “I think (New Orleans center Omer Asik) probably tipped it in with Tim. It’s a tough way, especially when we thought we had the game won.”
Asik appeared to tap in the pass with Duncan falling to the floor in celebration.
“Sure,” Duncan said dryly when asked if he got his hand on the ball. “That’s my answer and I’m sticking with it.”
Davis finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds for his 19th double-double of the season.
San Antonio had already lost four overtime games in December, including consecutive losses in triple overtime for the first time in league history.
“Considering things that have been happening to us in the last few games, it was about time for us to get one of those,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. “Good that it happened.”
Ginobili had 26 points as San Antonio (20-14) avoided its fourth overtime loss at home in December.
New Orleans guard Jrue Holiday scored the first five points in overtime, but fouled out with 1:20 remaining and the Pelicans leading 91-88.
“Good thing Jrue Holiday fouled out because he was making everything down the stretch,” Spurs guard Danny Green said.
Holiday finished 5 for 18 from the field, including 3 for 6 on 3-pointers, in 39 minutes.
Ginobili scored five of his seven points in overtime with Holiday out, helping San Antonio rally for a needed victory in a tumultous month.
“It was the basketball gods kind of giving us a little bit extra,” Green said of Duncan’s basket. “I don’t know if we were owed it, but we definitely got a break. We needed it. This was a big game for us tonight, it was a big win for us tonight.”
It was a dramtic finish to what had been a sloppy start, especially for the Pelicans.
New Orleans finished with 28 points in the first half, a season low for a San Antonio opponent.
“We hadn’t played our game at all,” Williams said of the early struggles. “I knew once we started moving the ball a little bit we would start making more shots. The ball wasn’t moving at all in the first half.”
Ryan Anderson added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Pelicans, and Evans had 15 points. Jimmer Fredette finished with 14 points.