Two prime NBA groups battling into double time beyond regulation. Memorable particular person performances. And factors, factors, factors.
Thursday night time’s sport between the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder set a handful of data, but it surely was the Spurs who gained, 154-147.
Though he has averaged 20 factors or extra commonly, and continuously winds up within the 30s and 40s, the Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge had by no means scored 50 factors in an NBA sport earlier than Thursday. And at halftime, it didn’t seem like Thursday can be the night time, both; Aldridge had solely 14 factors. However a powerful second half took him to 43, and the 2 overtimes gave him the additional minutes he wanted to complete 56, a brand new profession excessive.
He tallied the 56 with six layups, three dunks, 11 mid-range photographs, and 16 free throws. Notably, the 6-foot-11 Aldridge tried no 3-pointers, which have powered many of the current record-setting offensive performances within the trendy NBA. (That was not shocking; Aldridge is barely 2 for 14 on the 12 months from distance.) Nonetheless, in padding his scoring in 1s and 2s, Aldridge grew to become the primary participant to web 50 factors with out making an attempt a 3-pointer, since Jermaine O’Neal had 55 for the Indiana Pacers in 2005.
It was essentially the most factors by a Spurs participant since David Robinson scored 71 in 1994, and essentially the most in opposition to the Thunder franchise since Tom Chambers of the Phoenix Suns poured in 60 in opposition to the group — then nonetheless the Seattle SuperSonics — in 1990.
Aldridge was 16 of 16 on free throws, rating second this season for perfection from the road. (James Harden had a 19 of 19 efficiency in opposition to the Detroit Pistons in November.) He additionally pitched in on defence, blocking 4 Thunder photographs.
“Properly, he’s been a beast all 12 months lengthy,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich advised ESPN after the sport. “He anchors us on each ends of the ground.”
As one may anticipate, Aldridge took lots of photographs in posting his huge quantity. His 33 makes an attempt have been essentially the most for a Spurs participant since Tony Parker took 36 in a 2008 sport.
Whereas Aldridge stayed largely down low, his teammates fired away from behind the 3-point line with nearly superhuman accuracy: making 16 of 19 makes an attempt. Their share, .842, was the best ever for a group that took at the very least 10 3-pointers in a sport, surpassing a 14 of 17 (. 824) efficiency by the Chicago Bulls in 2005. It was a balanced assault, too, with Marco Belinelli going 5 for five, Davis Bertans four for four and Bryn Forbes Three for 3.
Russell Westbrook had 24 assists within the loss, the second-highest complete of this century, trailing solely Rajon Rondo’s 25 for the Pelicans final season. That was a part of a triple-double: Westbrook additionally had 24 factors and 13 rebounds. That exact mixture of at the very least 20 factors, 10 rebounds and 20 assists is a rarity. It has been completed solely 12 instances within the NBA since 1960, and just one different time this century, in 2016 — by Westbrook.
The mixed 301 factors within the sport was essentially the most since 2006, when the Suns and Nets mixed to place up 318 in a double-overtime sport. The Spurs’ 154 factors have been essentially the most they’d scored in a sport since 1990.
Each groups loved a time off Friday, earlier than they go well with up Saturday in a rematch in Oklahoma Metropolis.