Los Angeles: LaMarcus Aldridge delivered 25 points and 11 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs vaulted into fourth place with a 103-99 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Spurs improved to 44-32 on the NBA season to sit just ahead of the fifth place Thunder and the sixth place New Orleans Pelicans.
“It is not like we beat anybody by 20 points,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “But we played through some adversity and we held them to 18 points in the fourth quarter. The defence is where we have to be good at because we are going to have nights where our scoring isn’t great.”
Aldridge scored 21 of his points in the first half as the Spurs stopped a two-game losing skid. He made a clutch dunk with just under a minute left to give San Antonio a three-point lead.
Paul George led Oklahoma City with 26 points and had six assists. Russell Westbrook tallied 19 points and 11 assists, but missed on a pair of three-point attempts late in the game.
Elsewhere, an emotional Kevin Durant got ejected in his first game back after he was slapped with his league-leading fifth ejection as the Golden State Warriors lost 116-107 to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Durant, who was thrown out with just two seconds to go in the first half, didn’t think the ejection was warranted.
“I am more upset I didn’t finish the game,” said Durant who had 10 points and six assists. “I wanted to play after being out a couple of weeks.
“It’s a tech. I am sorry. No, I am not sorry. I wish I didn’t happen. I can move past it when I wake up.”