SAN ANTONIO — This is a game the Spurs had to have after suffering the indignity of giving up 130 points in a loss to an 11-win New York Knicks team late last month.
The Silver and Black took care of business Friday night, rolling to a 109-83 rout of the Knicks at the AT&T Center.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with his 25th double-double of the season, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds. He had scored at least 22 points in seven consecutive games, and was averaging 27.6 points and 10 rebounds in San Antonio's five games in March.
"The teammates were looking for me, got in the pick-and-roll and kind of got hot," said Aldridge, who hit 8 of 14 shots. "The ball was moving around, the guys were playing defense and just competing and making things happen. I thought we came in focused, played good defense, moved the ball around and just tried to put together a solid game."
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was somewhat incredulous when he asked what Aldridge means to the team.
"We'd be lost without him," Popovich said. "What do you mean what does he mean to us? The best players are very important to you. That's what they mean, you can't play without him."
Then Popovich talked about Aldridge's performance against the Knicks.
"He did a great job tonight," he said. "Defensively, he really locked in and I thought a lot of people played well defensively. That really fueled us and helped our offense. We played a lot of people and that was fortunate because we have a real tough game tomorrow (Saturday)."
DeMar DeRozan and Bryn Forbes scored 13 points each, and Marco Belinelli, Rudy Gay and Jakob Poeltl added 12 apiece to round out the Silver and Black's double-figure scoring. Poetl was also a force on defense, tying his career high with five blocks. He finished with nine rebounds and tied his season high in steals with two.
Gay played well after missing the previous two games with the flu, making 5 of 8 shots and finishing with three rebounds, four assists and one steal in 19 minutes.
The game was the front end of a back-to-back for the Spurs, who host Portland on Saturday. It also was the start of a four-game homestand for San Antonio, which plays defending league champion Golden State on Monday and Miami on Wednesday.
The Spurs (40-29) have won seven straight overall and nine in a row at home. The Silver and Black lead the NBA in scoring defense, allowing an average of 102.9 points per 100 possessions since Feb. 27, when they started their winning streak with a 105-93 home win over Detroit.
"I think it's more of a focus and them understanding that when we play good defense, we're a darn good team," Popovich said, when he was asked if he thought the team is getting more comfortable defensively."
New York (13-56) has lost eight consecutive games since beating San Antonio 130-118 on Feb. 24 and the Orlando Magic two nights later.
Knicks guard Damyean Dotson led all scorers Friday night with 21 points, and Kadeem Allen added 16. Emmanuel Mudiay (14) and DeAndre Jordan (11) rounded out New York's double-digit scoring.
The Spurs shot 53.4 percent overall (47-88) and were 7 of 21 from the three-point line for 33.3 percent. The Knicks hit 35 of 86 attempts from the field for 40.7 percent and were 40 percent (8-20) from beyond the arc.
San Antonio jumped on New York early, leading 31-20 after one quarter and 56-41 at the half. The Spurs were up 82-69 heading into the fourth period and led by as many as 28 points in the quarter. The Knicks led only once, by one point.
"It was a good win for us," point guard Derrick White said. "We came out and did what we had to do."
New York outscored San Antonio 28-26 in the third quarter, but the Spurs took the fourth period 27-14.
"We kind of came out stagnant (in the third quarter), so we just got back to moving the ball and getting good looks. Our defense was good the whole night and it extended the lead."
Asked if the team's offense feeds off the defense, White said: "Definitely. It's tough to run when you are taking it from the hoop every time. Each time we get stops, and are able to build in transition and move the ball, we are tough."
DeRozan scored 11 points and Aldridge added 10 to help the Spurs take the 56-41 lead at the half. Aldridge also had seven rebounds in the first two quarters.
The Silver and Black shot 53.3 percent (24-45) overall and were 4 of 11 from the three-point line in the first half.
The Knicks shot 38.3 percent (18-47) from the floor and made 3 of 9 three-pointers in the first half. Allen came off the bench to led New York's scoring with 11 points on 5-of-6 in the first two quarters.
"Mistakes," Knicks coach David Fizdale said, responding to a question about the key to his team's loss. "We just had too many guys making too many mistakes. You just can't plug the holes in the dam when the Spurs got you going like that."