Tuesday, 25 June, 2019

About Last Night: Epic night in San Antonio

DeMar DeRozan Fernando Medina Getty Images
Cary Erickson | 12 January, 2019, 12:27

The Spurs scored a season-high 70 points in the first half behind ideal 10-of-10 shooting from long distance - riding Aldridge and Marco Belinelli to a 70-63 advantage at the break. The ESPN broadcast said he had already been diagnosed with a sprained ankle, so his status for Saturday's rematch is worth monitoring.

The arduous win for San Antonio also meant that Gregg Popovich would pass Jerry Sloan for third All-Time in National Basketball Association head coaching wins. Last year, he bricked his way to 29.3 percent from deep on 1.2 attempts.

The Thunder has trailed in late-game situations before with the ball in Russell Westbrook's hands.

San Antonio finished hitting 16-of-19 3-pointers.

"I was just complaining about (not scoring 50 points) like two weeks ago", Aldridge said.

Early in his tenure with the San Antonio Spurs, LaMarcus Aldridge wasn't always comfortable.

He continued to produce through both overtimes, hitting several big free throws on a 16-for-16 night at the line. The six-time All-Star scored seven points in double-OT to finally give the Spurs a victory that appeared over before a furious comeback attempt by the Thunder. He scored a career-high 25 points, added 12 rebounds, and swatted three shots in his 44 minutes. Eventually Pop realized that he should just play to his player's strengths, and now the entire Spurs machine is centered on what Aldridge does best. "So, I do it every night".

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At one point in the first quarter, Marco Belinelli hit three straight.

As you would imagine for a game featuring 114 field goals, there were any number of twists and turns as the Thunder battled back from 16 down in the second quarter, and seven with 3 minutes, 14 seconds left in regulation.

Aldridge scored eight consecutive points with Adams out, but consecutive 3-pointers by Terrance Ferguson tied it again at 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.

And that, along with the Spurs' ridiculous 3-point shooting and a massive block by White down the stretch, is what it took against a game opponent in a contest with zero margin for error.

While Aldridge thrived in overtime, Westbrook struggled, failing to score in either extra period.

Such a brilliant night for Aldridge seemed nearly inconceivable in November, when the veteran suffered through a shooting slump that saw him score six points on 3-of-12 shooting against the Phoenix Suns and 10 points on 3-of-15 shooting in 38 minutes against the Clippers on back-to-back nights. He surpassed his previous career-high of 45 points (scored against Utah in March, 2018), shooting 20-of-33 from the field, along with nine rebounds and four blocked shots. Aldridge has 17,758 career points, passing Magic Johnson for 78th on the NBA's all-time scoring list.