Williamson powers Pelicans past Popovich-less Spurs, 117-99

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Zion Williamson scored 30 points and matched a career high with 15 rebounds, and the New Orleans Pelicans rolled to a 117-99 victory Friday night over the San Antonio Spurs, who were without coach Gregg Popovich.

Jonas Valanciunas added 21 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans, which has won three straight and eight of 10 to remain atop the Southwest Division ahead of Memphis.

San Antonio has lost 10 straight, matching the franchise’s longest losing streak set in 1987.

Popovich was at the AT&T Center but missed the game due to a minor medical procedure, according to the Spurs. He will also miss Sunday’s home game against Phoenix.

Former Philadelphia coach Brett Brown coached the Spurs in Popovich’s absence.

Popovich joined San Antonio’s growing injury report.

The Spurs were without starters Jakob Poeltl and Jeremy Sochan as well as key reserves Doug McDermott and Josh Richardson.

Despite that, the Spurs played the Pelicans close for the first 34 minutes until Williamson took over.

New Orleans closed the third quarter on a 13-2 run and bridged the quarters with a 19-5 advantage.

Coming off a season-high 33 points in Wednesday’s victory over Toronto, Williamson was 9 for 14 from the field against San Antonio. He had 15 points in the third quarter.

Devin Vassell scored 25 points and Keldon Johnson had 15 for San Antonio.


Pelicans: New Orleans is 6-5 on the road after losing three straight to open November.

Spurs: San Antonio’s previous 10-game skid ended with a 123-112 victory over Portland on April 14, 1987. The Spurs beat the Los Angeles Lakers 106-98 on Nov. 3, 1989, to end a nine-game skid. … Alize Johnson became the 50th player called up from San Antonio’s G League franchise in Austin.


Pelicans: Host Denver on Sunday.

Spurs: Host Phoenix on Sunday.

Raul Dominguez, The Associated Press