NBA: Aldridge shines as fast-starting Spurs stop Thunder

San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge shooting over Oklahoma City Thunder centre Steven Adams during their NBA playoffs match on April 30, 2016.
San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge shooting over Oklahoma City Thunder centre Steven Adams during their NBA playoffs match on April 30, 2016. PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

(REUTERS) - LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 38 points in just three quarters of play as the San Antonio Spurs built a 23-point lead in the first quarter and never looked back, burying the Oklahoma City Thunder 124-92 on Saturday in Game 1 of the Western Conference semi-finals.

San Antonio never trailed and shot a withering 81.8 per cent from the floor in the first quarter with Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard (25 points) leading the way. Even though Oklahoma City kept their starters in the game until deep into the third quarter, the Spurs dominated throughout, pushing to as much as a 39-point advantage.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be in San Antonio on Monday. Games 3 and 4 will be in Oklahoma City on Friday and May 8, respectively.

Aldridge was 18-of-23 from the field and Leonard hit on 10 of his 13 shots as the Spurs put on a shooting clinic, especially in the first half. Danny Green added 18 points for San Antonio, going 5-of-6 from three-point range, and Tony Parker dished out 12 assists, eight in the first half.

Oklahoma City was led by Serge Ibaka's 19 points while Kevin Durant scored 16. Russell Westbrook had 14 points and nine assists, Deon Waiters added 11 points and Steven Adams had 10 rebounds for the Thunder.

Ibaka, Durant and Westbrook were a combined 19-of-49 from the floor, making one more shot as a trio than Aldridge made by himself.

The fourth quarter was left to the two teams' bench players and Oklahoma City will hope that this first game would not leave a hangover from which they cannot recover.