Two high N.B.A. groups battling into double time beyond regulation. Memorable particular person performances. And factors, factors, factors. Thursday evening’s recreation between the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder set a handful of data, however it was the Spurs who received, 154-147.
LaMarcus Aldridge had his greatest evening. Though he has averaged 20 factors or extra repeatedly, and steadily winds up within the 30s and 40s, Aldridge had by no means scored 50 factors in an N.B.A. recreation till Thursday. And at halftime, it didn’t appear like Thursday could be the evening, both; Aldridge had solely 14 factors. However a powerful second half took him to 43, and he the 2 overtimes gave him the additional minutes he wanted to 56, a brand new profession excessive.
He tallied the 56 with six layups, three dunks, 11 midrange photographs, and 16 free throws. Notably, the 6-foot-11 Aldridge tried no Three-pointers, which have powered a lot of the current record-setting offensive performances within the trendy N.B.A. (That was not stunning; 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 attain 50 factors with out making an attempt a Three-pointer since Jermaine O’Neal had 55 for the Indiana Pacers in 2005.
It was probably the most factors by a Spurs participant since David Robinson scored 71 in 1994, and probably the most towards the Thunder franchise since Tom Chambers of the Suns poured in 60 towards the group — then nonetheless the Seattle SuperSonics — in 1990.
It wasn’t simply the sphere targets. 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 towards the Detroit Pistons in November.) He additionally pitched in on protection, blocking 4 Thunder photographs.
“Effectively, 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 would possibly anticipate, Aldridge took a whole lot of photographs in posting his huge quantity. His 33 makes an attempt had been probably the most for a Spurs participant since Tony Parker took 36 photographs in a recreation in 2008.
The opposite Spurs couldn’t miss from Three. Whereas Aldridge stayed largely down low, his teammates fired away from behind the Three-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 no less than 10 Three-pointers in a recreation, 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 Three.
The Thunder challenged some data of their very own. Russell Westbrook had 24 assists within the loss, the second-highest whole of the 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 individual mixture of no less than 20 factors, 10 rebounds and 20 assists is a rarity: It has been executed solely 12 instances within the N.B.A. since 1960, and just one different time this century, in 2016 — by Westbrook.
The scoreboard took a pounding. The mixed 301 factors within the recreation was the most since 2006, when the Suns and Nets mixed to place up 318 in a double-overtime recreation. The Spurs’ 154 factors had been probably the most that they had scored in a recreation since 1990.
Each groups will take pleasure in a break day Friday, then go well with up once more on Saturday … in a rematch in Oklahoma Metropolis. Based mostly on Thursday’s performances, that immediately has change into one of the vital anticipated regular-season video games in years.