SAN ANTONIO — LaMarcus Aldridge had the hot hand Thursday night, draining 19 of his 23 shots en route to a 39-point showing as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, 121-112.
The Spurs trailed 57-56 at halftime but used a 36-27 third quarter to take control, then held on in the fourth.
Dejounte Murray had a career-high 10 assists, plus 17 points and only 2 turnovers. He had 8 rebounds, leaving him two boards shy of a triple-double. DeMar DeRozan added 16 points, Bryn Forbes had 14, and Patty Mills chipped in with 10 off the bench.
Both the Spurs and the Thunder made more than half their field goals and at least 45 percent of their three point attempts. Each team committed 13 turnovers and the Spurs had 47 rebounds to just 31 for the visitors.
Six Oklahoma City players scored at least 10 points, led by Danilo Gallinari's 27 points. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the team's leading scorer entering the game, had 21. Superstar Chris Paul was -12 in 31 minutes, but he had 19 points and 5 assists.
The Spurs have Friday off before hosting the Boston Celtics on Saturday. Tip-off at the AT&T Center is scheduled for 2 p.m.
After winning the third quarter, 36-27, the Spurs had to defend an 8-point lead in the last 12 minutes. In the same situation in Atlanta on Tuesday, they couldn't get it done. Defensively, the Spurs must have received a message from Coach Pop.
The Spurs took a 108-95 lead on a Bryn Forbes triple, but gave up consecutive Thunder layups, prompting a Popovich time-out. You know he doesn't want to see another one slip away from his team.
Even as the Thunder continued to hang around, the Spurs kept going back to LaMarcus Aldridge, who could not miss. Almost immediately after the Spurs posted this tweet, it was old news, because he scored again. And again. And again.
Aldridge missed his last shot of the night, but he was pulled with the Spurs holding an 11-point lead in the final minute. His stat line: 39 points on 19-of-23 shooting.
After three, the Spurs lead 92-84.
Dejounte Murray is closing in on his first career triple-double. He has a career-high 10 assists and 6 rebounds. LaMarcus Aldridge is making nearly everything, shooting 12-of-14, and the Spurs are starting to create some separation. They lead 73-67 with 7 minutes left in the third.
But perhaps the most encouraging development is Trey Lyles buring a pair of three-pointers. The Spurs don't ask him to provide much scoring, but some floor spacing from their starting big man would help the offense a ton.
Dejounte Murray is continuing to make his case to be the third member of a Big 3 with LaMarcus and DeMar. On a night when "give the ball to LaMarcus and get out of the way" would be a totally valid plan, it's still nice to get scoring from other players.
Aldridge, by the way, has 29 points in his first 29 minutes on the floor. He made 14 of his first 17 shots. Patty Mills also quietly has had a solid night, drilling both of his threes and holding his own defensively.
LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan have combined to score 31 points in the first half, but the rest of the team hasn't provided much. Dejounte Murray has 10 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists in 16 minutes.
The Spurs committed one more turnover and gathered seven more rebounds than the Thunder, while both teams made at least half of their field goals. Each team sported a 50 percent mark from long range.
The Thunder got 14 points from Danilo Gallinari and 13 from Chris Paul, with another 10 from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
After two quarters, the Spurs trail 57-56.
Despite the best efforts of Dejounte Murray (and this play was quite the effort), the Thunder opened the second quarter on an 11-4 run to take a 41-37 lead nearly five minutes into the frame.
The Spurs are leaning more on their starters, with just 9 of their first 50 points coming from the bench unit. LaMarcus Aldridge is leading the way in scoring, but DeMar and Dejounte are also in the double-digit club for the first half.
There hasn't been a ton of defense in the game, with both teams hovering above 50 percent field goal shooting near the end of the half.
After one, the Spurs lead 33-30.
The Spurs got off to a decent start, holding an 18-17 lead over the Thunder after 6 minutes. Bryn Forbes got the party started for the Spurs, making a couple of three-pointers. That's key for the Silver and Black, because Forbes hadn't shot the ball well in recent losses.
DeMar DeRozan will also be an important piece for the Spurs against the Thunder, who lack an elite perimeter defender capable of stopping him. His first nine minutes on the court were encouraging, as he tallied 8 points and 2 assists.
DeRozan finished second on the Spurs with 8 first-quarter points, behind LaMarcus Aldridge's 9. Dejounte Murray and Bryn Forbes had 6 apiece and Derrick White chipped in 4 off the bench. The Spurs won the rebounding battle 11-7 and won in the turnover column, 6-3.
There's no place like home. there's no place like home. The San Antonio Spurs are hoping a three-game homestand will be the setting for an uptick in the team's fortunes. After winning their first three games, the Spurs have dropped three of the following four, entering Thursday's game at 4-3 on the new season.
Last time out, the Spurs blew a fourth-quarter lead in Atlanta, losing 108-100 to the Hawks.
The Spurs are expected to be at full strength, despite Derrick White recently being listed as day-to-day with a right glute injury. Oklahoma City will be without guard Andre Roberson, a product of Wagner High School in the San Antonio area.
The Thunder bring a 3-4 record to the AT&T Center, but they're 0-2 on the road. The team looks a lot different than last year's iteration. Over the summer, they traded away Paul George and Russell Westbrook, receiving Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and a pile of draft picks.
The Big Fundamental Podcast, our weekly KENS 5 podcast, broke down this game and the week ahead for the Spurs: