DeMar DeRozan scored 11 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter and the visiting San Antonio Spurs held off the New Orleans Pelicans 110-108 on Saturday night.
Derrick White added 22 points, Keldon Johnson had 14 and Dejounte Murray 11 as the ninth-place Spurs (30-29) increased their lead over 11th-place New Orleans (26-34) in the battle for a spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament.
The victory also gave San Antonio the head-to-head tiebreaker as it won the season series 2-1.
Zion Williamson had 33 points and 14 rebounds and Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram scored 24 each. Both teams shot 32 free throws, but the Spurs made 27 and the Pelicans made 17.
The score was tied early in the fourth quarter before consecutive baskets by Patty Mills, DeRozan and Johnson gave the Spurs a 94-88 lead.
Ball had five points and Williamson four in an 11-0 run that gave New Orleans a 99-94 lead.
White scored five points and DeRozan three as San Antonio regained the lead at 102-101 with 2:55 left.
Ingram made two free throws and DeRozan answered with two free throws and a jumper for a 106-103 Spurs lead with 1:16 left.
Williamson made a layup, but DeRozan answered again with a jumper and a 108-105 lead with 34.9 seconds left.
Ball missed a potential tying 3-pointer and Murray made two free throws for a five-point lead with 19.7 seconds left.
San Antonio led by 11 points twice early in the third quarter before Ball and Ingram brought New Orleans back.
Ball made two 3-pointers and Ingram made two jumpers as the Pelicans closed within 75-70.
New Orleans finally pulled even on two free throws by Jaxson Hayes before the Spurs took an 85-84 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The Spurs finished the first quarter with a 31-24 lead after scoring 10 points on seven Pelicans turnovers.
Ball scored five points as New Orleans closed within one point before San Antonio built the lead to 10 and held a 61-52 halftime lead.