Aldridge scores 38 to lead Spurs past Clippers 122-111
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The consistency that has been a staple of the San Antonio Spurs under coach Gregg Popovich eluded them to start this season.
The Spurs seem to have rediscovered it, especially in the second half of games, as the Los Angeles Clippers found out during a dominant third quarter.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 38 points and the Spurs beat the Clippers 122-111 on Saturday night.
DeMar DeRozan had 25 points, 13 rebounds and six assists for the Spurs, who won for the fifth time in their past seven games.
“It’s understanding our mistakes,” DeRozan said. “Understanding we got to come out the second half with that intensity. We do it at home, but trying to generate our home energy on the road, trying to be more conscious of that.”
Coming out of the locker room with the game tied at 56, the Spurs outscored the Clippers 39-19 in the third quarter. Defense fueled offense as San Antonio turned six Los Angeles turnovers into 12 points and had a 14-0 edge in fast-break points.
“Our confidence is definitely showing (offensively) once we go out there and play defense like we know how to do it,” said DeRozan, who scored nine points in the quarter.
Los Angeles trailed by as many as 24 in the fourth quarter before cutting the margin, but never seriously threatened San Antonio after halftime.
It was the second straight win by San Antonio over Los Angeles. The Spurs’ 125-87 victory at home on Dec. 13 is their largest margin of victory this season.
“It felt like they had more energy, they were far more physical than us,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I think the last two times we have played them they have been the more physical team. We just have to go look at it and see what we didn’t do right, and it was a lot.”
Rudy Gay had 12 points, and San Antonio’s starters combined for 97 points with all five in double figures.
Danilo Gallinari had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Clippers, who had won three straight at home. Montrezl Harrell scored 21 points and Lou Williams had 16 points and seven assists off the bench.
Spurs: Bryn Forbes had 10 points and seven assists. ... Marco Belinelli had 11 points, but the Spurs were outscored 55-25 in bench production. ... F Pau Gasol was active for the second straight night but did not play. Gasol missed 26 games because of a stress fracture in his left foot and has not played since Nov. 4.
Clippers: Tobias Harris was the Clippers’ only double-digit scorer in the first half with 10 points and finished with 16. ... Los Angeles led four times and never by more than two points. ... Rivers said there was no update on the status of F Luc Mbah a Moute (knee). Mbah a Moute missed his 32nd straight game and has not played since Oct. 23.
DeRozan’s 25 points was his lowest total in four road games against the Clippers and Lakers, with the Compton, California native and former Southern California star averaging 30.8 points at Staples Center this season.
“You kind of want to come home and show out a little bit,” DeRozan said. “You always want to play well when you come home and unconsciously that’s always on my mind.”
The Clippers wanted to limit Aldridge after he scored 22 points in the first half, but the Spurs big man was more efficient in the second half. Aldridge had 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting and made 8-of-9 free throws in 18:27.
“Yeah, he destroyed all of our bigs tonight,” Rivers said.
Spurs: Host Boston on Monday night.
Clippers: Host Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports