LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points and hit two consecutive baskets during a pivotal stretch of the fourth quarter as the San Antonio Spurs easily handled the visiting Washington Wizards 98-90 on Wednesday at the AT&T Center.
San Antonio led 86-66 with 9:01 to play before the Wizards forged an 8-0 run over the ensuing 2:15 to get to within 86-74. However, Aldridge hit a jumper, Dejounte Murray sank a 3-pointer, and Aldridge poured in another 15-footer to rebuild the lead and give the Spurs more than enough breathing room for the stretch.
The win was a season-high fifth straight for the Spurs, who just a few weeks ago were outside of the playoff picture and in jeopardy of seeing an end to their run of 20 straight years in the postseason.
All that changed with a perfectly timed stint at home, the current winning streak and the return to health of Aldridge, who has now been the team’s leading scorer 50 times in the 64 games he has played this season. San Antonio is now tied for fifth in the Western Conference with the New Orleans Pelicans, a half-game behind the fourth-place Oklahoma City Thunder.
Kyle Anderson added 16 points for the Spurs while Rudy Gay poured in 10 points off the bench. Murray grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
Bradley Beal and Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 21 points each to lead the Wizards, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. Otto Porter Jr. and Ian Mahinmi added 12 points apiece for Washington, which is in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind both the Philadelphia 76ers and the Indiana Pacers.
San Antonio led 50-44 at halftime despite making just 2 of its 11 3-point attempts. Aldridge led the Spurs with 14 points and six rebounds over the first two quarters. Nine of the 10 players that saw the floor for San Antonio scored at least two points.
Beal paced the Wizards with 13 first-half points on 6-of-9 shooting with Oubre Jr. adding 10 points before the break. Washington also struggled from long distance, converting just 2 of 10 first-half shots from beyond the arc.
The Spurs pushed their lead to 77-60 after three quarters as San Antonio’s defense allowed the Wizards just 16 points in the pivotal period.
Overall, San Antonio shot 7 of 23 from 3-point range while Washington was 8 of 25.
San Antonio concludes its six-game homestand on Friday when it hosts the Utah Jazz. Washington returns home for the next three contests, beginning with a Friday game vs. the Denver Nuggets.
—Field Level Media