The San Antonio Spurs dismantled the Oklahoma City Thunder – in a hurry.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 38 points and the Spurs beat the Thunder 124-92 on Saturday night, never trailing in Game 1 of the second-round series.
The Spurs scored the most postseason points against the Thunder and came within eight points of matching their largest postseason victory ever.
“Obviously, it kind of got away from them,” San Antonio veteran Tim Duncan said. “We didn’t expect that, but we’ll take it at the start of a series.”
Aldridge broke out for his best game of the season after Memphis held him to 14.5 points in the first round, nearly seven points below his regular-season numbers. The 6-foot-11 forward was 18 for 23 from the field, including his first 3-pointer of the season and banking in a left-handed scoop shot as he was falling in the lane.
“It was just one of those nights,” Aldridge said. “I can’t take credit for it. I was just trying to play confident and ended up making some plays that I probably won’t make the next game. It was enough for me tonight.”
The Spurs had 39 assists, which was more than the Thunder’s field goal total of 35.
Kawhi Leonard added 25 points, five rebounds and five assists in 22 minutes for San Antonio. The Spurs led by as many as 43 points and sat their starters in the fourth quarter to rest them for Game 2 on Monday night.
Leonard and Aldridge combined for 45 points in the first half, outscoring Oklahoma City as a team by four. Unfortunately for the Thunder, the rest of the Spurs were just as impressive early.
San Antonio guard Danny Green was 5 for 6 on 3-pointers in scoring 18 pointers and as a team the Spurs were 9 for 15 on 3s.
“I think our defense ignited our offense,” Green said. “We were able to get out on the break by making it tough for them on that end of the floor, making them take some tough ones. They obviously didn’t get a rhythm. They were cold. Luckily for us, they missed a good amount of them, so we were able to get out on the break and we moved the ball well, took some uncontested shots and everybody kind of got a rhythm going.”
San Antonio matched a postseason franchise record for points in a quarter with 43 in the opening period.
“We didn’t have that sense of urgency tonight coming out of the gate for whatever reason,” Oklahoma City guard Andre Roberson said.
Serge Ibaka led Oklahoma City with 19 points. Kevin Durant had 16 points, and Russell Westbrook added 14, but they were harassed into 11-for-34 shooting.
“They do a good job of helping,” Westbrook said. “Most of the time it’s help-side defender. Me personally, I never look at the guy in front of me. I look at the help see what’s the next move. Not a big problem, just got to find ways to read the help a little bit better, and make better decisions.”
San Antonio shot 82 percent in the opening quarter, including 3 for 4 on 3-pointers in taking a 23-point lead. The Spurs also blocked six shots, collapsing and surrounding the Thunder with multiple defenders whenever they drove into the lane.
The only scare came when Leonard grabbed the back of his left leg after landing on it awkwardly off a powerful one-handed dunk on the game’s opening possession. San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich paced the sideline in concern, asking Leonard “are you OK?” on the Spurs’ ensuing possession. Leonard didn’t respond verbally, but his dynamic efforts on both ends of the court answered Popovich’s concerns.
He shot 10 for 13 from the field and had only one turnover while guarding Westbrook and Durant.
Thunder: Memphis held the previous record for most postseason points against Oklahoma City, scoring 123 in a 10-point loss in triple overtime on May 9, 2011. … San Antonio had 51 field goals, besting its own postseason record for a Memphis opponent. The Spurs had 50 field goals against the Grizzlies on May 19, 2014. … The Thunder split the regular-season series with the Spurs, winning both games at Oklahoma City by an average of 12.5 points and losing twice in San Antonio by six points.
Spurs: Aldridge’s postseason career high of 46 points came for Portland against Houston on April 20, 2014. His regular-season high is 44 against Denver on Jan. 23, 2014. … Duncan won his 156th postseason game, surpassing Robert Horry for second on the career list. Derek Fisher has the record with 161.
San Antonio was hitting 69 percent on their mid-range jumpers through three quarters.
“We don’t want to just give them wide open tough twos . they’re not tough twos if they’re wide open I guess,” Durant said. “So we’ve got to run out there to contest make them shoot over our hands that’s what they’re doing defensively is making us shoot tough twos over their hands, so we’ve got to do a better job of that. We’ve just got to have second and third efforts.”
NOT FOR YOU
Durant was not in the mood to discuss his feelings following Saturday’s blowout loss.
“I’m not telling you,” Durant said when asked if he was mad or frustrated by the loss.
Why not, a reporter asked.
“Cause it’s over with,” Durant said. “Move on. We’ll just move past it and figure out what we need to do better. No crazy emotions. It’s not like we’re upset, screaming at each other in the locker room after the game. That’s not going to make things better.”
SOURCE: The Associated Press