LaMarcus Aldridge, Russell Westbrook Make History as Spurs Beat Thunder in Double OT

LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs
LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs during the second half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on November 14, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

LaMarcus Aldridge scored a career-high 56 points as the San Antonio Spurs beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 154-147 in one of the games of the season on Thursday night.

The Spurs' big man shot 20-for-33 from the field and a perfect 16-for-16 from the free throw line to become the ninth player to break the 50-point threshold this season, along with Golden State Warriors trio Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.

LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, Kemba Walker and James Harden are also part of that elite club and the latter is the only player to have scored at least 50 points in more than one game this season.

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On March 23 last year, Aldridge had set a career-high by scoring 45 points, the most by any Spurs player since Tony Parker scored 55 against the Minnesota Timberwolves in November 2008. However, after his exploit against the Thunder, David Robinson and George Gervin are the only players in Spurs history to have scored more points in a single game than Aldridge. Robinson had 71 points in 1994, while Gervin posted 63 points in 1978.

"I got going early in the third [quarter] and I felt good," he told NBA on TNT after the game. "I was just trying to get to the rim. I had a good rhythm in getting to the rim and I just felt good out there."

🔸 9 REB
🔸 First @spurs player with 50+PTS since Tony Parker on Nov. 5, 2008

LaMarcus Aldridge's impressive performance propels the @spurs to a 154-147 DOUBLE OT victory! #GoSpursGo

— NBA (@NBA) January 11, 2019

Aldridge did not take a single shot from three points but his teammates did, scoring a combined 16 of 19 attempts from beyond the arc. In percentage terms, that is a conversion rate of 84.2 percent, the most for any team that has attempted at least 15 three-pointers. Additionally, the Spurs made their first 14 shots from beyond the arc, setting a new franchise record.

By not attempting a single three-pointer, the second overall pick of the 2006 round became the first player to score at least 56 points without ever shooting from beyond the arc since Shaquille O'Neal scored 61 points against the Los Angeles Clippers in 2000.

The Spurs led by as many as 16 points at one stage but needed a double overtime to have the better of the Thunder. The offensive explosion continued in the two extra periods, making the game the highest-scoring contest—not including All-Star games—since the Phoenix Suns beat the New Jersey Nets 161-157 in double overtime.

The Spurs' 154 points were the most they scored since putting 161 past the Denver Nuggets in 1990, while Oklahoma's 147 was just short of the 148 they scored in January last year against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Predictably, Russell Westbrook was instrumental in the Thunder's scoring spree on Thursday, finishing with 24 points, 24 assists and 13 rebounds.

24 PTS.
13 REB.

👀 the best dimes from Russ tonight! #ThunderUp

— NBA (@NBA) January 11, 2019

The 2017 MVP has averaged a triple-double for the last two seasons but, according to Elias Sports Bureau, nobody had posted figures like the one he recorded in San Antonio. Isiah Thomas is the only other player in NBA history to record 24 points, 24 assists and 10 assists in a game, a feat he achieved in 1986.

Only Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson have put together a 20-10-20 performance more times than Westbrook, having done so three times to the Thunder star's two.