What the Pelicans had to say about 101-95 loss to the Spurs (1/13/14)

Pelicans Coach Monty Williams
On playing at a higher level against top teams despite injuries
“If you look at our schedule we played Indiana, Miami, Dallas, Washington and the Spurs tonight with the injuries and all that stuff. But that can’t be something we rely upon as an excuse. We had our chances tonight and we just didn’t execute down the stretch. We had three costly turnovers in the last few minutes of the game against a team like that and they turned into layups. It’s not youth. Even though the young guys were out there making those mistakes, obviously we’ve got to learn from that. We had 87 looks tonight, 87 shots. We just need to put the ball in the basket.”

On a four-minute scoring drought late in the third quarter
“I’d have to look at the film but I daresay there was a lineup out there where we don’t have a lot of scoring to begin with. We just didn’t show poise on defense. I thought we got some silly fouls. In the second half I thought we just did silly things and even in that stretch. I’d have to look at the film but we just couldn’t score.”

Pelicans guard Brian Roberts
On taking away positives from tonight
“We really don’t like moral victories, but we came in and competed. From the start, I think that we made it known that we were going to be in for a game. We had that mentality throughout the game. Unfortunately, they made plays down the stretch. They are a veteran team. They are going to keep their composure through those stretches. Hats off to them. It was good to get out there and compete.”

On being the starting guard
“I’m getting better. It was kind of a shock to know that Jrue (Holiday) is going to be out for a little bit. It was kind of tough at first trying to fill in those shoes of an All-Star caliber player. I think that I’ve kind of accepted it. I’m just trying to go out there and play.”

Pelicans guard Austin Rivers
On where the game got away
“It was just simple mistakes. I honestly can’t say that we did anything wrong. We made mistakes, but so did they. They hit a couple of big shots. They are a veteran team. They have been in that situation a million times. They go to the Finals like every year. That is no excuse. Sometimes, you just have to tip your hat off. They made a couple more plays than us down the stretch. I think that throughout the game we played well. The whole game I thought we fought. We played well. We put ourselves again in position to win. That is two games in a row. That is growth (for us). We are going to get it. Once we win one of those, then it will just go from there. It could happen the next game or the game after that. We are leaving this game confident, knowing that we can compete. They are the best team in the league with one of the best coaches, if not the best coach. We walk away with confidence, knowing that if not for a couple of mistakes we didn’t make, we would have won.”

On if the team is getting better
“Yeah. That is our goal right now to just keep getting better and to take it one game at a time and one day at a time. (We will) come into practice tomorrow focused, then we have Houston, another great team. After that Golden State, another great team. We are in the West. Every team is going to be challenging.”