SAN ANTONIO - The San Antonio Spurs talked about having to play playoff-type games down the stretch with so many teams battling it out for the final six playoff spots in the West.
The playoff-type run started with the Spurs hanging with defense down the stretch to beat one of the teams ahead of them in the West, the New Orleans Pelicans 98-93.
It was rough and tough, physical, technical fouls, elbows and stitches.
Danny Green had a career high six blocked shots, a franchise record for a guard, but he took a Anthony Davis elbow to the face in the third quarter and had to head to the locker room to get stitched up.
"My face took a beating tonight, had a couple of shoulders a couple of elbows, don't know how everybody else felt," said Green. "It was a grind out it game, a playoff like atmosphere."
Green hit a big 3-pointer down the stretch as well as getting the blocks.
LaMarcus Aldridge lead the way for San Antonio with 25 points and four rebounds.
"It's live or die for us right now you have to bring in every game," said Aldridge.
Aldridge made a couple of key plays down the stretch, including a blocked shot and a huge rebound on a Pelicans miss with just over 30 seconds to play.
"I thought guys played great D, I think that's what's been hurting down the stretch, not playing defense and guarding guys better and I thought the last two games we definitely guarded better," Aldridge said.
It must be a playoff atmosphere. Manu Ginobili blocked Anthony Davis from behind, took a charge and then got Davis to run him over.
Ginobili was dribbling up court when he stopped in front of Davis, who pushed him to the floor. Davis got a foul and then a technical. Davis eventually fouled out.
"I had a good stretch, I needed to feel good, to feel that I was helping the cause," Ginobili said.
Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry was not happy about Davis' sixth foul call.
"When AD (Anthony Davis) fouled out, or when they called a sixth foul on AD, obviously it takes the best player off the floor," Gentry said.
"Big game," said Ginobili. "We kept fighting our defense really tightened up in the second half and that is the reason we won the game."
This is just the beginning of the end of the season. The Spurs expect tough matchups from here on out.
"It is going to be a grind it out end of the season and hopefully we can sustain this level of aggressiveness," Ginobili said.
The Spurs host Minnesota Saturday.
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