Aldridge scores 41, sets regular-season high with Spurs in 104-95 win over Grizzlies

SAN ANTONIO - Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge figured he was going to have a good scoring night when he nailed three three-pointers in the first quarter of Wednesday night's 104-95 victory against the Memphis Grizzlies at the AT&T Center. 

Still, Aldridge had no idea just how hot he would get as the game went on. He hit his first two three-pointers from opposite corners and drained his third from the top of the arc. 

"When I hit that one at the top of the key -- it was kind of a a little fluke shot -- I said, 'OK, it's going to be one of those nights.'" 

Aldridge had his most prolific scoring night in a regular-season game as a Spur, finishing with 41 points on 17-of-24 shooting, including 3 of 3 from beyond the arc, in 37 minutes. His previous regular-season high was 36, set against New Orleans on Feb. 3, 2016.

Aldridge was in such a zone that he scored 17 of the Silver and Black's first 19 points. He fell three points shy of his career regular-season high (44), which he set on Jan. 23, 2014 when he played with the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Spurs (14-7) won their third in a row and spoiled the debut of J.B. Bickerstaff as coach of the Grizzlies, who dropped to 7-12 after losing their ninth consecutive game.

Memphis played without starting point guard Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons, Mario Chalmers and Brandan Wright, all out with injuries. The Grizzlies are 0-7 without Conley, who is sidelined with a sore left heel and Achilles tendon. 

Bickerstaff was named Memphis' interim coach after David Fizdale was fired Monday, one day after the Grizzlies lost their eighth in a row. 

Aldridge, who is in his third season with San Antonio also tied his single-game career high with the Spurs. He scored 41 points in Game 2 of the Spurs' second-round playoff series against Oklahoma City on May 2, 2016. 

"It feels good," Aldridge said. "Just taking my time, trying to take my shots, and trying to make guys better out there, and just ended up having a good night."

Aldridge recorded a season high for the second consecutive game. He finished with 33 points in the Spurs' 115-108 win over Dallas on Monday, topping his previous high by one point. 

Asked what he thought of Aldridge's game, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, "The same as all year. He's been an All-Star. The defensive end, the offensive end, being a leader, everything combined. He's been fantastic and he did it again tonight."

Patty Mills came off the bench to score 13 points, and Kyle Anderson and Tony Parker finished with 10 each. Aldridge and Pau Gasol led the Silver and Black under the boards with six rebounds apiece.

Aldridge scored 17 points in the first quarter and seven in the second. He had eight points in the third period and nine in the fourth. He credited his teammates, especially Parker and Mills, for getting the ball to him in good spots throughout the game.

"I thought guys looked for me," Aldridge said. "I thought Tony and Patty and everyone on the floor, they were trying to find me. I just tried to stay aggressive out there."

Parker played well in his second game back after having surgery in May to repair a ruptured tendon in his left quadriceps. He finished with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting and dished out five assists in 18 minutes.

"It's great," Aldridge said of the impact Parker's return has had on his game and team in general. "He's a big-time pick-and-roll player, and that's what I love to do. I think he benefits from having me out there and vice versa. He got me going early, found me on two or three easy ones and after that I was good to go."

Parker and Aldridge have had good chemistry since Aldridge joined the Spurs before the 2015-16 season. Aldridge was a four-time All-Star in nine seasons with Portland before he signed with San Antonio as a free agent.  

"I just like playing with him and the way we connect," Parker said. "I just know when he wants it (the ball), and it's all about timing and how you throw it for him to get a good rhythm on his shot. Once he got that rhythm, he was on fire tonight. He kept going."

Parker made his season debut in the Spurs' win over the Mavericks, finishing with six points in 18 minutes. 

"I felt good," Parker said. "I felt like I'm building my cardio. I felt confident. Now it's all about building my body and the cardio. My timing is great and I feel comfortable. Like I said last game, I could have come back two weeks ago. That's why I felt so good and confident."

Popovich liked the way Parker ran the offense.  

"Tony is very knowledgeable," Popovich said. "His IQ in the pick-and-roll is off the charts. He makes us a better team with the pick-and-roll. It helps the bigs because they know where the ball is coming from, and Tony knows how to deliver it. The pick-and-roll part of the game will really help us as a group because of Tony."

The Spurs shot 50.7 percent overall (38/75) and 40 percent (8/20) from the three-point line. They finished with 12 turnovers. 

"Some good, some bad," Popovich said, assessing his team's overall performance. "Little of this, little of that. We need to do a better job on Friday on the boards. They really hurt us on the board, especially in the first half."

The Grizzlies outrebounded the Spurs 37-32, and had an 18-14 edge at the half. 

San Antonio led 28-21 after one quarter and 58-49 at the half. The Silver and Black were up 79-73 heading into the fourth period. They led by 15 points in the third quarter and 11 in the fourth, but the Grizzlies kept hanging around.

Tyreke Evans led the Memphis scoring with 22 points. James Ennis III (15), Andrew Harrison (13), Ben McLemore (10) and Marc Gasol (10) also scored in double figures. Marc Gasol is the younger brother of Pau Gasol. 

The Grizzlies dropped to 0-7 since point guard Mike Conley injured an Achilles 

The Spurs and Grizzlies meet again Friday night in Memphis. 

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