NBA 2018-19: 3 Talking Points From The San Antonio Spurs' Nail-Biting Win Over The Oklahoma City Thunder
The matchup went into double-overtime and packed the energy and intensity of nothing short of a high-stakes playoff game, with the Spurs ending up on the winning side of an astronomical 154-147 scoreline.
The Spurs had won five in a row before dropping one to the Grizzlies when they hosted Westbrook and his OKC. The arduous win for San Antonio also meant that Gregg Popovich would pass Jerry Sloan for third All-Time in NBA head coaching wins. Pop's team improved to 25-18(0.581) on the season, having won seven of their previous ten games, now just 4.5 games behind the Conference-leading Nuggets.
On the other hand, after winning three in a row, this was OKC's third straight loss, as they drop to 25-16(0.610) on the 3rd spot out West. With an unfamiliar rough patch facing them in recent times, they have now lost six of their previous ten, falling as far as 3.5 games below the apex.
Let's draw out some key takeaways from this Spurs' onerous conquest of the Thunder in a blazing encounter.
#1 LaMarcus Aldridge puts up a career-night and carries the Spurs through
Due to the incorporation of DeRozan into the Spurs lineup, Aldridge has not been able to take charge like he did last year. But recent struggles from DeMar's end to take over the game had really been opening gates for other guys to step up. And who'd be more familiar to the pressure than the man who averaged more than 23 points per game for the Spurs last season.
"He's been a beast all year long," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said of Aldridge. "He anchors us at both ends of the floor. He did it last year, and he's doing it this year, too. He's just been fantastic.
LaMarcus dropped a career-high 56 points, 16 of which came from his perfect free-throw shooting on the night. 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.
"I was just complaining about (not scoring 50 points) like two weeks ago," Aldridge said. "That I feel like it should have happened in my career."
San Antonio's big man chipped in seven points in the deciding second-overtime period and clocked in a team-high 49 minutes of playtime for the game.