Basketball: Ooh la LaMarcus Aldridge stars as Spurs rout Thunder

Spurs forward leads team to Game 1 rout of the Thunder

SAN ANTONIO • LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 38 points in just three quarters on Saturday as the San Antonio Spurs stormed to a 124-92 victory over Oklahoma City in Game 1 of their National Basketball Association (NBA) Western Conference semi-final play-off series.

The Spurs built a 23-point lead in the first quarter - when they connected on 81.8 per cent of their shots - and the rout was on in San Antonio. Kawhi Leonard added 25 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Spurs, who never trailed and led by as many as 43.

With the luxury of resting their starters in the fourth quarter, they will try to build on their hot start when they host Game 2 of the best-of-seven series today (tomorrow morning, Singapore time).

Aldridge connected on 18 of 23 shots from the field and Leonard hit 10 of his 13 as the Spurs put on a shooting clinic. Danny Green added 18 points and point guard Tony Parker handed out 12 assists - eight of them in the first half. All 13 San Antonio players who took the floor scored.

"It was one of those where we had a great night and (Oklahoma City) had one of their bad nights," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "The ball went in the basket a lot - not trying to be flippant, but that's what happened."


Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (right) scores over Thunder centre Steven Adams during Game 1 of the Western Conference semi-finals on Saturday. Alridge was the game's top scorer with 38 points. He made just one field goal fewer than Thunder trio Serge Ib

Serge Ibaka led the Thunder with 19 points. Kevin Durant scored 16 and Russell Westbrook added 14 points and nine assists for Oklahoma City. But the trio were 19-of-49 from the floor, the three combining to make one more shot than Aldridge made by himself.

"Shots were falling for me and my team-mates were looking for me," forward Aldridge said.

"I just tried to stay confident the whole game. I ended up making some plays that I probably won't make the next game, but it was enough for me tonight."

With the dominant win, the Spurs picked up from where they left off after sweeping the Memphis Grizzlies in four games in the first round.

They led 73-40 at half-time - their highest-scoring first half of the season.

Oklahoma City out-scored the Spurs 11-6 in the first four minutes of the third period, but San Antonio responded to smother their attempt to rally.

Aldridge hit his first three-pointer of the season, Leonard made a technical free throw and a basket, and Tim Duncan drove the lane for a layup off another Parker assist as the Spurs remained in control.

"We just need to move past this and get better," Durant said. "There were no crazy emotions - nobody was yelling in the locker room after the game because that's not going to make things better. We just have to go and play better."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2016, with the headline 'Ooh la LaMarcus Aldridge'. Print Edition | Subscribe