Aldridge scores 24 points, leads Spurs past Wizards 129-112

WASHINGTON (AP) — The San Antonio Spurs are trying to become a better road team as they battle for position in the Western Conference playoffs.

They made some strides against the Washington Wizards on Friday.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 24 points, Rudy Gay added 18 and the Spurs beat the Wizards 129-112.

San Antonio holds the eighth spot in the Western Conference, a half-game behind No. 7 Oklahoma City.

Bryn Forbes and Patty Mills each scored 17 for the Spurs, who had lost five of eight. DeMar DeRozan scored 16 points.

“It’s a great win for us on top of the fact that it’s on the road,” Gay said. “We needed that. We’ve been a subpar road team this year.”

If the Spurs finish eighth, they’ll likely play the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors, who are currently in the West’s top spot. The Warriors eliminated the Spurs in the last two playoffs.

“I’d like to say it doesn’t tendon, but obviously there’s teams we match up with better,” Gay said. “We want to be in there and actually compete so we have to be ready for whoever it is.”

Bradley Beal scored 25 points and Thomas Bryant had 19 for Washington, which has lost eight of its last 10.

The Spurs had eight players score in double figures and shot 66.7% in the first half for a 77-58 lead. San Antonio scored 12 straight points midway through the second quarter for a 62-45 lead and never looked back.

San Antonio shot 56% overall and led by as many as 24 points in the fourth quarter.

“They’re on another level than us right now,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “We’ve got work to do. Nobody’s going to run from it.”

Beal appreciates the Spurs’ excellence.

“They play like that all the time,” Beal said. “You can’t expect anything different.”

TIP-INS

Spurs: The 77 points in the first half were the most in a half since Nov. 7, 1990, when the Spurs scored 78 against Denver. … F/C Donatas Motiejunas, who signed on Thursday, had spent the last two seasons in China. He has played five seasons in the NBA, and was most recently with New Orleans in 2016-17. He scored two points in four minutes. … G Marco Belinelli, was out with left hip soreness. . Aldridge and DeRozan have scored more than 1,600 points this season, the first Spurs to so since Terry Cummings and David Robinson in 1989-90.

Wizards: G Jordan McRae left the game with a sore left Achilles tendon. . F Jabari Parker missed the game with a sprained left knee. … F Trevor Ariza, who has a strained left groin, is not with the team for personal reasons, Brooks said. … F Jeff Green, who hadn’t played in the last four games because Brooks wanted to see other players, scored 14 points in 22 minutes. … The team waived F Wesley Johnson after the game.

PLAYOFF BOUND

The Spurs’ final two regular season games are against two teams, Cleveland and Dallas, not going to the playoffs.

“That’s what everyone plays for,” Aldridge said. “Can’t look past these last two games.”

LONG WAY TO GO

Washington must win one of its last two games to avoid losing 50 games for the first time since 2012-13, when they were 29-53.

“I haven’t even thought about that,” Brooks said. “The first time I thought about that was now.”

UP NEXT

Spurs: At Cleveland on Sunday

Wizards: At New York Knicks on Sunday.