NEW ORLEANS — As a contested layup by Pelicans guard Ian Clark caromed off the rim, Julius Randle barreled into the paint, grabbed the offensive rebound and quickly fired it to the perimeter, where Darius Miller caught it in rhythm and nailed a 3-pointer.
It was the kind of effective hustle play that Randle has been providing in bunches lately, just as the Pelicans hoped he would when they acquired him to help fill the void left by DeMarcus Cousins' departure in free agency.
Anthony Davis had 29 points and nine rebounds, Randle added 21 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in 25 minutes, and New Orleans won its third straight with a 140-126 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night.
"I was just being aggressive. I was just playing hard. If I make mistakes, I don't really care. I just play through them," Randle said. "When I play with that mindset, without thinking about anything else, I'm successful."
Randle injected the Pelicans with the energy and play-making they needed from their top reserve. He had six of New Orleans' 14 offensive rebounds as New Orleans totaled 21 second-chance points. He also made nine of his 13 shots.
Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday said Randle has recently changed games with "his motor, really. The way he's been decisive offensively. I feel like he's kind of like a bull down there."
The 6-foot-9 Randle is also comfortable starting fast breaks with outlet passes or on the dribble after he comes down with rebounds, and Holiday credited his first-year teammate for making the right plays when he handles or distributes the ball, sets screens and rolls to the hoop.
"He's been doing everything," Holiday said.
E'Twaun Moore scored 24 points and Holiday 21 for New Orleans, which shot nearly 58 percent (59 of 102). Nikola Mirotic hit three of four 3-point attempts and finished with 13 points, while second-year pro Frank Jackson, who because of injury did not make his debut until this season, scored 12 points
DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points and Bryn Forbes added 20 for the Spurs, who defeated Golden State a night earlier but have now lost four of five. Dante Cunningham hit all five 3s he attempted and scored 19 points, but did not score in the second half. Rudy Gay added 17 points.
"As the game went on, their athleticism got to us," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They played really well and were aggressive. They shot it well and they did a good job moving the ball and moving bodies. We just didn't have enough juice."
Spurs: Fell to 2-6 on the road. ... Marco Belinelli and Jakob Poeltl each scored 11, while LaMarcus Aldridge grabbed 10 rebounds. ... Attempted just six 3s in the second half, missing five. ... Committed 15 turnovers that led to 25 Pelicans points.
Pelicans: Randle now has six career triple-doubles. ... New Orleans improved to 8-1 at home, including 8-0 when Davis plays. ... Had 34 assists on 59 made field goals. ... Holiday had nine assists but also committed five of New Orleans' 11 turnovers.
Sharp shooting from deep in the first half helped San Antonio build a 10-point lead. The Spurs hit 10 of their first 14 3-point shots, with Cunningham hitting all five he attempted in front of what used to be his home crowd. When Forbes hit his fourth 3 of the game, San Antonio led 60-51 with 4:28 still left in the second quarter.
But Randle's driving layup 10 seconds later marked the beginning of a game-turning 17-5 Pelicans run during the next 3 1/2 minutes.
Moore hit a pair of 3s during the spurt, Randle added a follow shot while being fouled and Jackson converted a pair of transition layups, one a reverse as he was fouled.
San Antonio was still as close as 83-82 on Gay's fade in the third quarter. But New Orleans responded with seven straight points on Wesley Johnson's wing 3 and consecutive dunks by Davis, and the Pelicans methodically built a double-digit lead that got as large as 20.
Jackson hasn't always been a regular in New Orleans' rotation this season, but that could change given his recent play.
"It's exciting to see somebody so young come out and have meaningful minutes, be able to hold his own," Holiday said. "I feel like his confidence and the confidence from the coaches grow every single day."
Spurs: Host Memphis on Wednesday night.
Pelicans: Visit Philadelphia on Wednesday night.