LaMarcus Aldridge had a performance that showed why the San Antonio Spurs were the trendy pick to win the NBA title at the beginning of the season. In 28 minutes of action, Aldridge scored 38 points in the San Antonio Spurs 124-92 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.
From the opening tap, the Spurs played like they had something to prove. It was only Game 1, but they set the tenor for the entire series. By the time the third quarter was over, it was clearly garbage time, and the Spurs were shooting 68 percent from the field, while holding a 105-66 lead.
Meanwhile, the Thunder only shot 39 percent. Interestingly enough, the Thunder increased their offensive production in the second half. Yet, it was nothing compared to what the Spurs were doing all game.
At one point, the Spurs largest lead was 43 points. San Antonio dished out 33 assists in the first three quarters, sharing the ball with great efficiency. They finished the game with 39 assists. Quietly, Tony Parker shredded the Thunder defense with 12 assists. The offense was flowing so well, Parker only took three shots on the evening.
If it wasn’t for Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard would have been the player of the game. Leonard shot 10 of 13 for 25 points in 22 minutes of play. He also had five assists and five rebounds. Still, his biggest contribution may have come on the defensive end. Leonard’s presence shook Russell Westbrook early on.
By the time it was over, Westbrook only shot 5 of 19 from the field for 14 points. He had a meaningless nine assists and only two rebounds. It was far from the triple double machine opponents have been used to.
At halftime, the Spurs were leading 73-40. The Spurs shot 69 percent from the field, decimating the Thunder with precision passing. They finished the first 24 minutes with 22 assists. However, it wasn’t just an offensive explosion for the Spurs.
They held the Thunder to 36 percent from the field. And the long-range shooting was not there. OKC was only 1 of 11 from 3-point range in the first half, while the Spurs hit 6 of 8 attempts from 3-point range.
The Spurs had three players in double figures by halftime. Aldridge led the way with 25 points. Leonard had 20, while Danny Green hit all four of his 3-pointers for 13 first half points. They combined to shoot 24 of 30 from the field in the first half. Green finished the game with 18 points.
Durant (11) points and Westbrook (8) points combined to shoot 8 of 27 from the field. Cameron Payne hit the only three of the first half. If this is any indication, the series is already over.
The San Antonio Spurs came out of the gate with a haymaker in the first quarter. On the initial possession, Leonard set the tone with a monster one-handed slam. It was only the beginning for the Spurs offensive outburst.
Following Aldridge’s lead, the Spurs shot 18 of 22 from the field, scoring 43 first quarter points. Aldridge was 7 of 9 from the field, scoring 15 points, while Leonard scored 12 points before leaving with two fouls. As a team, the Spurs had 13 assists in the first quarter.
Defensively, the Spurs held the Thunder to 28.6 percent from the field in the first quarter. Westbrook was 0 for 5 from the field, scoring his only two points from the foul line. Unfortunately for the Thunder it never got better.
Serge Ibaka led the Thunder with 19 points.
Game 2 is set for Monday at 9:30 p.m.