DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points and Rudy Gay chipped in 18 off the bench, and the San Antonio Spurs made key free throws down the stretch to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 122-113 on Sunday (US time).
With the win, the Spurs (31-38), part of a crowded bunch on the fringe eyeing the 8th and last playoff berth in the West, boosted their chance of a play-in appearance.
The loss, coupled with the Portland Trailblazers' 124-121 win over the Philadelphia 76ers later in the day, meant the Pelicans and the Sacramento Kings were eliminated from postseason play.
Besides the Spurs and the Blazers (33-39), only the rising Phoenix Suns (31-39) and the fading Memphis Grizzlies (33-38) remain in contention.
San Antonio led by as many as 20 points, before New Orleans stormed back in the fourth quarter.
A 3-point play JJ Redick and a basket by Zion Williamson put the Pelicans within 3 points, 105-102 with 3 minutes left.
But San Antonio responded by scoring 8 straight points -- 6 from 6 attempts at the free-throw line -- to preserve the lead en route to the win.
Overall, the Spurs made all but one of their 32 attempts from the line.
Redick finished with 31 points and 8 3-pointers, while Williamson added 25 points to lead New Orleans.
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