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Injury-Riddled Spurs Fend Off Pelicans

Tony Parker and Tim Duncan led the San Antonio Spurs to victory in the first game of their Rodeo Road Trip.

On the first night of the team’s 9-game Rodeo Road Trip, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan led the San Antonio Spurs to a 102-95 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans Monday.

Life on the road has been pretty sweet for the San Antonio Spurs this season.

Despite dropping consecutive road games for the first time this season last week, the Spurs entered Monday night’s game in New Orleans with a league-best 16-5 record away from home.

That tally improved to 17-5 with a 102-95 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.

San Antonio (35-13) began its 12th annual Rodeo Road Trip with a come-from-behind win over New Orleans (20-27) in a battle of the Southwest Division’s first and last teams.

With Manu Ginobli (hamstring) and Kawhi Leonard (hand) sidelined, Tony Parker led the Spurs’ charge, scoring 32 points and handing out nine assists as he helped his team overcome a 14-point third quarter deficit.

21 of Parker’s 32 points came in the second half as he harassed the New Orleans defense.

Tim Duncan added 21 points, seven rebounds and four blocks as he battled Anthony Davis in the low post for much of the game.

Marco Belinelli scored 13 off the bench against his former club, while Tiago Splitter had seven rebounds in 21 minutes and Danny Green had seven points in his first game back after suffering a broken hand.

The Pelicans made more than a good showing though.

Davis had 17 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks as he fought to pick up just his second win against the Spurs in his early career.

Eric Gordon had 19 points while Anthony Morrow (20pts) and Austin Rivers (10pts, 5asts) each made an impression off the bench.

New Orleans announced before the game that center Jason Smith would miss the remainder of the season.

Smith, who is averaging 9.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest, underwent surgery to remove loose cartilage in his knee last week. He had started 27 games this season, just two shy of his career-high recorded in the 2011-12 campaign.

The Pelicans could have done with Smith in the middle to stop Parker’s continual drives to the hoop, something New Orleans had no answer for in the second half.

Ultimately, the Spurs outscored the Pelicans 38-19 in the fourth quarter to emerge victorious. Gregg Popovich’s side is now 3-0 against New Orleans this season, and has won 10 of the last 11 meetings between the sides.

The Spurs and Pelicans will meet once more this regular season, a March 29 matchup to be played at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

Vegas Impact

San Antonio (23-25-0 ATS) covered the (-3.5) spread for the first time in five games, and just the second time in seven games against New Orleans.

The Spurs have covered the spread in two of three meetings with the Pelicans this season.

The Spurs are now 3-8-0 ATS in their last 11 games.

New Orleans (21-24-0 ATS) failed to cover for the second time in three games. Prior to that, the Pelicans had gone 7-2-0 ATS in nine games.

The total (193) went over for the first time in four Spurs’ games and five Pelicans’ games.

Updated NBA Futures

Despite what seems like an almost constant stream of injuries, San Antonio still ranks fourth on the NBA Futures list, according to leading online sportsbook, Bovada.

The Spurs are currently 10/1 to win the NBA championship, behind only the Miami Heat (12/5), Indiana Pacers (11/4) and Oklahoma City Thunder (15/4).

New Orleans is listed at 300/1, joint 23rd in the Association.

Rodeo Road Trip

Monday’s game in New Orleans marked the beginning of a nine-game road trip for the Spurs, who will travel 8,989 miles as they traverse the country.

The remaining schedule features games against the Washington Wizards (Wed.), Brooklyn Nets (Thur.), Charlotte Bobcats (Sat.), Detroit Pistons (Feb. 10), Boston Celtics (Feb. 12), Los Angeles Clippers (Feb. 18), Portland Trail Blazers (Feb. 19), and Phoenix Suns (Feb. 21).

The 2014 NBA All-Star Game will serve as a brief interval for the team between games in Boston and Los Angeles.

San Antonio is 65-26 (.714) in the 11-year history of the Rodeo Road Trip, which sees the Spurs dispersed while the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo is hosted at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

You can find trends for Wednesday’s Spurs-Wizards game in Washington here, with odds to follow as they’re released.

20140203_NBA_West_standingsFor a full list of today’s NBA odds, click here.

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