NEW ORLEANS: Brandon Ingram had 28 points and 11 rebounds and the New Orleans Pelicans held on for a 98-95 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday (Monday in Manila).

Brandon Ingram - Brandon Ingram scores 28 points as Pelicans beat Spurs
Brandon Ingram AFP FILE PHOTO

The Spurs had a chance to tie after Steven Adams, whose put-back dunk had given New Orleans a 97-91 lead with two minutes left, missed a pair of free throws with 11 seconds remaining.

But Eric Bledsoe blocked DeMar DeRozan’s 3-point attempt from behind in the final seconds to preserve a victory that New Orleans first-year coach Stan Van Gundy found gratifying on a night when his team overcame relatively poor shooting.

”As a coach, these are my favorite kinds of wins,” Van Gundy said. ”Not that I want to shoot like that every night, but to shoot 38% – and 20% from 3 – and be able to get a win against a good team, to me, is a great way to win.

”The first step is we got to get to where we don’t beat ourselves, and I’m talking specifically about turnovers and fouls,” Van Gundy added.

The Pelicans had just eight turnovers to the Spurs’ 15, outscored San Antonio 21-8 at the foul line and had 12 offensive rebounds to the Spurs’ four.

Zion Williamson had 18 points – highlighted by five dunks – to go with 11 rebounds and five steals for the Pelicans. Lonzo Ball had 16 points and five steals, and Josh Hart had 12 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.

Williamson missed 15 of 22 shots but still managed his third double-double in three games – and a career-high in steals.

”That’s a big part of building a wining culture,” Williamson said. ”When one thing isn’t working for you, don’t let it affect the other parts of your game, like defense and rebounding.”

Rudy Gay scored 22 points and Lonnie Walker IV had 16 for the Spurs, who lost for the first time after winning their first two regular season games.

”I wish I could have knocked down a couple open 3s and kind of helped us a little bit more,” Gay said. ”But the last play, obviously, they sniffed it out. We couldn’t get what we wanted out of it.”

Keldon Johnson had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Dejounte Murray had 13 points, but also turned the ball over six times.

New Orleans led by 15 in the third quarter when JJ Redick hit a pull-up jumper while being fouled by Gay and completed the 3-point play to make it 79-64.

The Spurs then suddenly seized momentum with a 21-3 run that put them back in front, 85-82, early in the fourth quarter.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said his players’ ”effort was great.”

”I don’t think we were as sharp as we have been offensively, but the defense allowed us to stay in the game,” Popvich said. ”I’m really proud of them for that.’’

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