SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs closed out one long month with a lucky break in regulation and a strong finish for Manu Ginobili.
San Antonio avoided its fourth overtime loss at home in December when Ginobili scored six of his 26 points in the extra session, leading the Spurs to a 95-93 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night.
The Spurs played five overtime games in the final month of the year, losing four, including becoming the first team in league history to lose consecutive games in triple overtime.
San Antonio (20-14) also matched a franchise record with 18 games in December, including a five-game stretch against teams with a .700 winning percentage.
"I think I'll remember it. ... Some things are just indelible, you never forget them," coach Gregg Popovich said. "Some good ones, some bad ones, but that's part of the deal. I'm just really proud of the guys."
Ginobili came up big on New Year's Eve, helping the Spurs overcome an early six-point deficit in the extra period.
"If you don't get up for the Spurs, it's tough," New Orleans forward Anthony Davis said. "They're a championship-caliber team. They bring it every night. That makes you put out your best performance and that's just what we try to do when we play them."
Davis had 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Pelicans (16-16). It was his 19th double-double of the season.
San Antonio star Tim Duncan had 16 points and 10 rebounds, tying Hall of Famer Karl Malone for fifth in career double-doubles with 814.
It was Duncan's final points of regulation that proved the most dramatic.
It appeared as if the Spurs were headed for a regulation loss when Davis followed Tyreke Evans' miss with an emphatic dunk, giving New Orleans an 84-82 lead with 0.7 seconds left. But Duncan sent the game to overtime, credited with tipping in Boris Diaw's inbounds pass at the rim when it looked as if Pelicans center Omer Asik had tapped it in.
"Sure," Duncan said dryly when asked if he got his hand on the ball. "That's my answer and I'm sticking with it."
Regardless of who tipped it in, the Spurs were overwhelmed to see something good happen.
"It was the basketball gods kind of giving us a little bit extra," San Antonio guard Danny Green said. "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."
Ryan Anderson had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Pelicans, and Evans finished 15 points. Jimmer Fredette added 14 points.
Pelicans: New Orleans is 8-10 in back-to-back games this season, including four losses in the second contest. ... Jrue Holiday has started every game this season, while Davis and Evans each have missed just one game.
Spurs: After finishing with a league-best 62-20 record last season, San Antonio has already lost 14 times through 34 games. ... The Spurs went 8-10 in December. ... F Kawhi Leonard (bruised right hand) missed his 11th straight game and G Tony Parker (strained left hamstring) missed his 12th. Popovich expects Parker to return before Leonard, who he said will be out "later rather than sooner."
Pelicans: Host Houston on Friday.
Spurs: Host Washington on Saturday.
Duncan continues to move up the league's career lists in his 18th season. In addition to tying Malone for double-doubles, Duncan moved into the top 10 rebounders. He has 14,250 career rebounds, surpassing Walt Bellamy (14,241) for 10th. Duncan is 17th in scoring with 25,348 points, trailing Paul Pierce (25,422) and Alex English (25,613) on the career list.
Holiday had 13 points, including the first five in overtime before fouling out with 1:21 remaining and New Orleans leading 91-88. Holiday finished 3 for 6 on 3-pointers and also had nine assists in 39 minutes.
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