Spurs tie ’95-96 Bulls’ record by improving to 37-0 at home
LaMarcus Aldridge (left) had 32 points and 12 rebounds to help Tin Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs defeat the similarly short-handed Memphis Grizzlies 110-104 on Friday night to match the best home start in league history with their 37th in a row.
SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs continue to roll no matter who’s on the floor.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 32 points and 12 rebounds and the Spurs defeated the similarly short-handed Memphis Grizzlies 110-104 on Friday night to match the best home start in league history with their 37th in a row.
San Antonio’s streak tied the season-opening mark set by the Chicago Bulls in 1995-96 during their record 72-victory season. The Spurs have won 46 consecutive regular-season games at home, dating to March 2015.
"Couldn’t care less," Spurs veteran Manu Ginobili said of tying the record. "It’s great that we are defending our home court, but it counts in May, or late April or June."
It was that workmanlike attitude that enabled the Spurs to win Friday despite Kawhi Leonard missing the game with a bruised right quadriceps and Danny Green, Boris Diaw and Patty Mills all sitting out for rest. The Grizzlies weren’t in any better shape with starters Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Mike Conley and three others out with injury.
Aldridge took control offensively with four of San Antonio’s most prolific scorers out, but not without a late scare.
"It just comes to me," Aldridge said. "The ball finds its way to me more and I just put it in the basket."
Memphis’ JaMychal Green had consecutive dunks and Chris Andersen followed with a driving layup to cut San Antonio’s once 17-point lead to 94-92 with 7 minutes remaining. The run led to audible groans of concern from the sellout crowd.
But Ginobili hit a pair of 3-pointers and Kevin Martin added another to ease the tension and give San Antonio another home victory.
Ginobili’s first 3-pointer came on a 5-on-4 fastbreak after Stephenson remained behind defensively after missing a 4-foot bank shot on which he thought he was fouled.
"That probably cost us the game," Stephenson said. "But I felt like I got fouled, plus I was hurt at the same time. My ankle twisted a little bit, but I should have got up and ran back. I think that was one of the reasons why we lost the game."
Martin had a season-high 13 points with the Spurs in his first start since signing with San Antonio on March 9.
Tony Parker added 14 points, Ginobili had 13 and Tim Duncan 12 in the Big Three’s final game before a two-game break for rest starting Saturday in Oklahoma City.
Aldridge had 17 points in the first quarter, the most in any quarter by a San Antonio player this season. He also swatted Stephenson’s short jumper at the point of release, resulting in a shot-clock violation by Memphis in the first quarter.
"He’s a pretty good player," Grizzlies coach David Joerger said. "We struggled to contain the ball in the first half. He got stuff around the rim and then he certainly felt good about it."
Aldridge shot 12 for 16 from the field and 8 for 9 on free throws. Aldridge has shown he is full immersed in the Spurs’ offense after struggling through much of the first half to find his place, finishing four points shy of matching his season-high with the Spurs
San Antonio finished with a season-high 37 points in the first quarter while shooting 63 percent from the field in the first half.
"It’s the Spurs, that’s all you need to say," Grizzlies forward JaMychal Green said. "You’ve got to come ready against them."
Green had 20 points to lead Memphis, which has lost two straight.
Grizzlies: Randolph missed the game with a sprained right ankle. The 6-foot-9 forward played 38 minutes in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, Memphis’ previous game, but he did not participate in Friday’s shootaround. Joerger told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal he was worried Randolph could miss "more than just this game." … In addition to Randolph, Gasol and Conley, Memphis was also without Jordan Adams (right knee surgery), P.J. Hairston (strained left groin) and Brandan Wright (right MCL sprain). … Memphis trails the Los Angeles Clippers by four games for the fourth seed in the Western Conference and holds a four-game lead over sixth-seeded Portland.
Spurs: San Antonio extended its franchise-record start. The team’s second-best mark after 72 games was 57-15 in 2010-11. … The Spurs have trailed at home in the fourth quarter for only 11 minutes, 13 seconds out of a possible 444 minutes played this season. … Duncan has won 997 games with the Spurs, extending his record for the most career victories with a single team. … San Antonio’s previous home loss was March 12, 2015, against Cleveland.