Aldridge scores 56, Spurs outlast Thunder 154-147 in 2OT
By RAUL DOMINGUEZ, Associated Press
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The Spurs started hotter than ever from 3-point range Thursday night.
When that wasn’t enough to put away the Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio got the extra push it needed from its big man in the middle.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored a career-high 56 points and the Spurs overcame Russell Westbrook’s triple-double to outlast the Oklahoma City Thunder 154-147 in double-overtime.
“He carried us,” Spurs point guard Derrick White said. “It was fun to watch.”
San Antonio set a franchise record by making its first 14 3-pointers and was 16 of 19 overall from deep, but it still needed two overtime periods to topple Oklahoma City, in part because Westbrook had 24 points, 24 assists and 13 rebounds.
Aldridge had seven points in the second overtime and White added four points, a steal and a critical block of Jerami Grant at the rim with San Antonio up 148-144 with less than two minutes remaining. White finished with 23 points and Marco Belinelli made all five of his 3-point attempts while scoring 19 points for the Spurs, who have won seven straight at home.
“He’s been a beast all year long,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said of Aldridge. “He anchors us at both ends of the floor. He did it last year, and he’s doing it this year, too. He’s just been fantastic. Obviously, he had a great night.”
Aldridge was 20 for 33 from the field and 16 for 16 on free throws in surpassing his previous career high of 45 points, which he set against Utah on March 23, 2018.
“I was just complaining about (not scoring 50 points) like two weeks ago,” Aldridge said. “That I feel like it should have happened in my career.”
The Spurs have won six of seven and 14 of 18 to close within a game of the Thunder for third place in the Western Conference.
“For it to go down to the wire with a team that’s hot like that, we have a lot to take away for us, for how we played,” Oklahoma City forward Paul George said.
The Thunder lost their seventh straight in San Antonio despite Westbrook’s huge game. George scored 30 points, and Grant added 25 points and 12 rebounds but fouled out with 25 seconds remaining in the second overtime.
Westbrook had only three turnovers in 50 minutes.
“I take a lot of pride (in triple-doubles),” Westbrook said. “I do other things that impact winning, impact the team and then I feel like I’m the best at all those other things. So, I do it every night.”
Oklahoma City entered the game having held opponents to 33.3 percent shooting from 3-point range, the third-lowest in the league, but the Thunder couldn’t contain San Antonio early.
Belinelli made three consecutive 3-pointers in less than a minute in the opening quarter, and the Spurs made all 10 of their 3s in the first half to build a 16-point lead.
Oklahoma City rallied and tied it at 114 with six minutes remaining in regulation when Steven Adams made consecutive follows off misses by Westbrook. Adams limped off the court with an ankle injury with 5 1/2 minutes remaining and didn’t return for the close of regulation but did play in both overtime periods.
Aldridge scored eight consecutive points with Adams out, but consecutive 3-pointers by Terrance Ferguson tied it again at 126. After the Spurs essentially abandoned the 3-pointer after their hot start, White drained a 3 to put San Antonio up 129-126.
With the Spurs up 130-128, Belinelli had the ball stolen at midcourt, leading to a tying layup by Grant with 5.6 seconds left. DeMar DeRozan missed a jumper at the close of regulation.
DeRozan missed another jumper with 0.3 seconds left in the first extra period and the Thunder could not put up a shot at the buzzer as White tipped the inbounds pass from Westbrook.
DeRozan finished with 16 points and 11 assists, but shot 7 for 22 from the field.
Thunder: San Antonio’s 16 3-pointers tied the most Oklahoma City has allowed this season, which came Nov. 19 at Sacramento. … The Thunder’s last win in San Antonio was Dec. 25, 2014.
Spurs: Aldridge has 17,758 career points, passing Magic Johnson for 78th on the NBA’s career list. … The Spurs’ previous high for 3-pointers to start a game was 11 against Sacramento in 2002.
Thunder: Host San Antonio on Saturday night.
Spurs: At Oklahoma City on Saturday night.
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