Aldridge has 24 points, Spurs beat Rockets 121-103
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points, Kawhi Leonard added 22 and the San Antonio Spurs made a season-high 13 3-pointers, avenging an earlier loss to the Houston Rockets with a 121-103 victory on Saturday night.
San Antonio extended its franchise record home start with its 20th straight victory, but this was among its toughest despite the lopsided score.
Dwight Howard had 22 points, including 10 for 17 on free throws, and 11 rebounds. James Harden had 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting for Houston (16-19).
The Rockets’ 88-84 victory on Christmas Day is the Spurs’ only loss in their past 12 games. San Antonio has won four straight since that game while Houston is winless.
The Rockets bullied the Spurs early by pushing them out of their sets and keeping them from cutting to the basket.
Patrick Beverly dug an elbow and shoulder into Tony Parker in the first half while awaiting an inbounds pass, prompting Parker to give him a two-handed shove that did not yield a call.
San Antonio was able to counter that aggression at different points with long-range shooting, quick passing and Aldridge’s own hard-nosed play.
Spurs guard Danny Green said his New Year’s resolution was “to make more shots,” and he fulfilled that promise early. Green opened the game 4 for 5 on 3-pointers, including his first 3, and finished with 18 points on a season-high six 3-pointers.
Aldridge assisted with his most forceful game since signing with the Spurs in the offseason. He was 10 for 16 from the field, including spinning away from Terrence Jones and hitting a fadeaway jumper after absorbing a couple of hard bumps.
Rockets: Rockets guard Marcus Thornton missed the game following the birth of his daughter, Maleia, with fiancee Lyndsey Duplessis on Friday. Houston coach J.B. Bickerstaff was unsure if Thornton would be available for Monday’s game in Utah. ... As a 13-year-old, Bickerstaff attended a Spurs camp conducted by San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich and general manager R.C. Buford in Aspen, Colo. David Robinson and Sean Elliott were among those assisting at the camp.
Spurs: Tim Duncan had no points, four rebounds, and two assists in 13 minutes in his return from a three-game absence. Duncan had not played since San Antonio last faced Houston. He missed the ensuing game for rest, but missed the following two due to right knee soreness. ... San Antonio tied Houston for the second-best home start to the season in the Western Conference. The 1978 Portland Trail Blazers hold the conference record with 26 straight home victories to open the season. ... San Antonio’s previous high for 3-pointers was 10, which they had in four previous games, most recently against Minnesota on Dec. 23.