The Spurs showed once again Thursday night that despite their struggles this season, they are still a very dangerous team.
The Spurs got 25 points and 11 rebounds from LaMarcus Aldridge to beat the visiting Thunder, 103-99, and pull into a fourth-place tie with Oklahoma City in the Western Conference standings. Both teams are 44-32 with six games remaining.
With playoff seeding on the line, both teams wanted this game. Yet the Spurs arguably needed this game more, after dropping their last two. The team's struggles of late have been well-documented, with superstar Kawhi Leonard sidelined most of the season by injury. San Antonio is headed for its lowest regular-season win total in almost two decades.
No wonder coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs feel the bottom has fallen out, considering their standard of excellence. Yet while Leonard remains sidelined, the Spurs still have weapons. Aldridge carried the team with 19 points in the first half as the Spurs took a 59-56 lead. While Aldridge — who played with a knee contusion — tailed off in the second half, he came up huge with this spin and dunk on Steven Adams with just less than a minute remaining.
There were encouraging signs for the Thunder despite the loss, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony snapped out of mini-slumps. George, who had been 0 for 13 from 3-point range (7 of 31 overall) in the Thunder's last two games, scored 26 points. Anthony, who had missed all nine of his 3-point attempts in those two games, hit all three long-range attempts against the Spurs and finished with nine points.
Stud of the Night
Andre Drummond scored 24 and grabbed 23 rebounds to key the Pistons' 103-92 victory over the Wizards. It's his seventh 20-20 game this season.
Duds of the Night
The Warriors: Kevin Durant was ejected just before halftime and Golden State's defense couldn't slow Giannis Antetokounmpo (32 points) and the Bucks in a 116-107 loss. The Stephen Curry-less Warriors have now lost three of their last four games. With the Warriors loss, the Rockets clinched the No. 1 seed in the West.
Dwyane Wade's lob is a little short, but Bam Adebayo thinks "no problem" as he reaches back and slams it home.
Clippers (41-34) at Trail Blazers (46-29) 10:30 p.m. ET — Must-win games are good entertainment, and this is a must-win for the Clippers, who are still on the playoff bubble. The Trail Blazers' backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum is averaging a combined 48.6 points per game, but the Clippers have their own backcourt scoring machine in super sub Lou Williams (22.7 points per game).