SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs have adjusted just fine after a busy offseason.
Just ask the Oklahoma City Thunder, who saw the difference while failing to hold another fourth-quarter lead.
Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points and San Antonio beat Oklahoma City 93-85 on Saturday night for its 41st straight home victory, the third-longest streak in NBA history.
“We’re a humble ballclub,” Leonard said. “We just want to get better as each game goes as the season goes on. So, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing. It’s just about us and are we going to execute, we are going to go out and have energy and play defense. We fought through the whole game tonight.”
The Spurs made it 32 straight wins to open this season at home, where they haven’t lost in the regular season since last March. Only Golden State, which has won 48 in a row, and the Chicago teams that won 44 straight in 1995-96 had longer streaks.
The Spurs did so by avenging a season-opening loss to the Thunder. LaMarcus Aldridge, who scored 24 points, was held to 11 on 4-for-12 shooting on Oct. 28 in his first game with San Antonio after joining the team as a free agent.
“I didn’t know my role,” Aldridge said. “I was trying to find shots. I think I took like seven shots that game. It was very uncomfortable. Out there tonight it was night and day for sure. I feel more comfortable out there.”
He and Leonard have teamed to give the Spurs an All-Star frontcourt that has led them in scoring in nine straight games.
Tim Duncan had 11 points for San Antonio, which extended its lead over Oklahoma City (44-22) to 12 games for the second seed in the Western Conference.
The Thunder saw another lead in the fourth quarter vanish a day after falling 99-96 at home to Minnesota when Ricky Rubio’s 3-pointer with two seconds remaining capped a late rally.
“They hit shots down the stretch,” said Kevin Durant, who finished with 28 points. “Kawhi Leonard hit a few tough ones. Danny Green hit that big 3 in the corner. They hit shots in the fourth. We didn’t give them nothing. Both teams worked for everything they got tonight. It was a slugfest.”
Warriors 123, Suns 116
In Oakland, California, Stephen Curry scored 15 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter and Golden State rallied from a nine-point deficit.
After spending most of the third quarter on the bench in foul trouble, Curry made three of his seven 3-pointers in the fourth, including two as part of an 18-8 run to close out the game.
Hornets 125, Rockets 109
In Charlotte, Kemba Walker scored 17 of his 26 points in the second half and the Hornets used a 27-8 run to open the fourth quarter.
Raptors 112, Heats 104 (OT)
In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan matched his season high with 38 points and added 10 rebounds.
Trail Blazers 121, Magic 84
In Portland, Damian Lillard scored 19 points and had 10 of his team’s season-high 34 assists in the Trail Blazers’ victory over short-handed Orlando.
Pacers 112, Mavericks 105
In Dallas, Monta Ellis scored 17 points, Paul George had 18 of his 20 in the second half and Indiana pushed the Mavericks’ longest losing streak of the season to five games.
Pistons 125, 76ers 111
In Philadelphia, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 23 points, Tobias Harris added 21 and Detroit used a big second half to beat the Sixers.
Nuggets 116, Wizards 100
In Denver, Jusuf Nurkic scored all of his season-high 17 points in the second half and the Nuggets rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Washington.
Hawks 95, Grizzlies 83
In Atlanta, Paul Millsap scored 21 points to help the Hawks beat depleted Memphis.
Bucks 103, Pelicans 92
In Milwaukee, Khris Middleton scored 19 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo added 18.