LaMarcus Aldridge poured in a career-high 45 points, including 28 in the first half, as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Utah Jazz in overtime 124-120 on Friday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio in a game with huge playoff implications as the NBA regular season heads into the stretch run.
Donovan Mitchell’s 3-pointer for Utah with 3.6 seconds to play in regulation capped a furious final two minutes of the fourth quarter and sent the game into overtime tied at 114. It was the first overtime game of the season for the Spurs.
Mitchell hit another jumper midway through overtime to give the Jazz a 119-116 lead but San Antonio scored the next six points on baskets by Patty Mills, Rudy Gay and Aldridge to sweep to a 122-119 advantage with 34.7 seconds left in the extra period.
After a turnover by Utah and a missed shot by the Spurs, Mitchell was fouled before he could shoot another 3-pointer but the Spurs had a foul to give. Utah’s Joe Ingles was fouled with 3.8 seconds left, made the first free throw and purposely missed the second. The rebound was corralled by San Antonio’s Pau Gasol with 2.6 seconds to play and he was immediately fouled.
The Spurs were able to get the ensuing inbounds pass to Mills, who was fouled and converted two free throws to clinch the win.
The victory was the Spurs’ season-best sixth in a row and allowed them to win one of the four games against Utah this season. San Antonio is tied with New Orleans for fifth place in the Western Conference a game behind fourth-place Oklahoma City with nine games to play.
Utah lost for just the second time in its past 11 games and remains in the eighth spot in the West standings, a game behind Minnesota and a game and a half ahead of ninth-place Denver.
Mills added 25 points for San Antonio while Manu Ginobili hit for 18, and Rudy Gay scored 15 points.
Mitchell led the Jazz with 35 points. Derrick Favors and Ricky Rubio added 22 and 20 points, respectively, and Ingles and Rudy Gobert scored 13 each for Utah.
Aldridge was a one-man wrecking crew in the first half, making 12 of his 16 shots from the floor and equaling the output of the rest of the Spurs combined. Still, San Antonio led just 56-51 at halftime as the lead changed hands 10 times over the first 24 minutes of play.
The Jazz were much more balanced in their scoring as Favors hit for 11 and Mitchell added 10 in the first half.
San Antonio returns to play on Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee while Utah ends its three-game road trip at Golden State, also on Sunday.
—Field Level Media