Aldridge lifts Spurs to vital win over weakened Warriors

San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge posts up against Golden State Warriors centre JaVale McGee during the Spurs' 89-75 victory against their injury-hit opponents. Aldridge had 33 points as the Spurs won their fourth game in a row.
San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge posts up against Golden State Warriors centre JaVale McGee during the Spurs' 89-75 victory against their injury-hit opponents. Aldridge had 33 points as the Spurs won their fourth game in a row.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • Given their own injury travails this season, the San Antonio Spurs were in no mood to sympathise with the patched-up Golden State Warriors after an 89-75 victory over the reigning National Basketball Association (NBA) champions on Monday.

The Spurs (41-30), who have won five NBA championships with the last in 2014, breathed new life into their quest for a 21st consecutive post-season appearance with their fourth straight win to put themselves back in the play-off mix.

Manu Ginobili summed up the home team's nonchalance about their opponent being down to bare bones, with the Warriors having arrived in San Antonio without injured All-Stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant.

"Nobody does when we have injuries," the Argentinian guard said succinctly.

There was more trouble to come for the Warriors after Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green was forced off the court in the first half with a bruised pelvis.

The injury occurred after Green was inadvertently kneed below the belt by Spurs guard Danny Green. He underwent an X-ray at halftime and though the results came back negative, Green did not return.

  • 75 The injury-ravaged Warriors were held to a season-low points total.

LaMarcus Aldridge proceeded to take full advantage of the enforced absentees, scoring 19 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter and grabbing 12 rebounds, while Patty Mills added 12 points and Danny Green added 11 for the Spurs.

"We've been playing with passion and hunger," Australian guard Mills said. "We just have to sustain it."

Nevertheless, the Warriors never threw in the towel and had erased a 16-point second-quarter deficit going into the fourth quarter.

They even took a four-point lead early on before the Spurs regained control, holding the Warriors to 12 points in the final 12 minutes.

"We had some let-down, and those guys are smart," Aldridge said. "It felt good to get it going in the fourth quarter."

Quinn Cook scored 20 points to lead Golden State (53-18), who have lost four of their last six games and trail Western Conference leaders Houston Rockets by 31/2 games.

Golden State's 75-point total was its lowest of the season and Cook admitted the makeshift line-up left them exposed in the end.

"We're already short-handed, and then we lost another All-Star, the glue to our team, Draymond, at half-time," Cook added.

"I thought we ran out of gas a little bit, and they took advantage of us. LaMarcus obviously took the game over, and those guys are fighting for their lives right now."

The bottom four teams out of the West's top eight, including Spurs in fifth, are within one game of one another with the play-offs starting on April 14.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2018, with the headline 'Aldridge lifts Spurs to vital win over weakened Warriors'. Print Edition | Subscribe