Aldridge leads Spurs to much-needed victory over Magic
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge scored 24 points and San Antonio never trailed after the opening minutes, holding the Orlando Magic to their lowest point total in a 108-72 victory on Tuesday night.
The Spurs were still without Kawhi Leonard, who missed his 59th game of the season while battling right quadriceps tendinopathy. Leonard’s injury is a key reason the Spurs are in the unusual position of fighting for a playoff berth after spending much of the previous two decades battling for a top three seed.
San Antonio cannot move any higher than ninth in the West following victories Tuesday by sixth-seeded New Orleans, the seventh-place Los Angeles Clippers and eighth-place Utah. Denver can remain in ninth place ahead of the Spurs with a win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Following consecutive losses to the West’s best in Golden State, Oklahoma City and Houston, San Antonio took advantage of an Orlando team that has now lost five straight.
The Spurs raced to their largest lead at halftime, 62-37, and extended that 25-point cushion to a 39-point advantage entering the fourth quarter.
San Antonio had allowed 110.4 points in going 3-8 in its previous 11 games, but returned to its defensive foundation to stop a three-game skid.
Dejounte Murray gave the Spurs their first double-digit lead at 37-26 by stealing a pass intended for Shelvin Mack, dribbling behind his back to avoid Mack’s recovery and then racing downcourt for a layup with 8 minutes left in the first half.
Three minutes later, Patty Mills stole the inbounds pass and hit a 3-pointer after getting the ball back from Kyle Anderson for a 50-29 lead.
Magic: Simmons returned to the AT&T Center for the first time in the regular season after signing with the Magic in the offseason. Simmons had 20 points and 10 assists in a five-point victory in the preseason, but was held to 10 points and no assists. . Orlando is 9-16 in back-to-back games, including a 4-9 record in the opener following Tuesday’s loss. . The Magic are 0-20 when scoring less than 100 points.
Spurs: The Spurs used their 24th different starting lineup this season. . Green started at small forward for the first time alongside Anderson, Aldridge, Mills and Murray. . San Antonio’s largest halftime lead was 38 points at Phoenix on Feb. 7, which is a franchise record.
Magic: Host Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
Spurs: Host New Orleans on Thursday night.
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