The talk of the 2015 offseason was LaMarcus Aldridge’s decision to join the already loaded San Antonio Spurs. In the team’s opening game of the 2015-2016 season, the power forward failed to make much noise as his Spurs fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 112-106 on the road.
Aldridge missed 8-of-12 shots from the field to finish with just 11 points in 32 minutes. Kawhi Leonard had 32 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocked shots in his first game as the Spurs’ main man but San Antonio couldn’t stop Russell Westbrook, who finished with 33 points on 12-of-23 shooting plus 10 assists and 2 steals.
While Aldridge lost his first game with his new team, new Thunder head coach Billy Donovan got the victory in his NBA coaching debut. Donovan replaced long-time OKC coach.
Kevin Durant was contained to just 22 points on 6-of-19 shooting but other Thunder contributed well including Enes Kanter, who came off the bench, for a double-double of 15 points and 16 rebounds in just 24 minutes of action.
Other bench players also did their job as Anthony Morrow, D.J. Augustin and Dion Waiters added 8 points each for the Thunder.
The Spurs-Thunder match-up was a high-scoring one right from the start with the Thunder grabbing the 29-27 after the first quarter and the Spurs getting the 55-50 lead at halftime. The Spurs maintained the lead at end of the third quarter, 83-79 but the Thunder came back in the fourth when they finally took the lead, 99-97 courtesy of a three-pointer from Durant.
With the game tied at 103, Serge Ibaka blocked an Aldridge’s jumpshot and the Thunder converted twice in their next two offensive possessions to take the five-point lead with under a minute to go in the game.
Leonard had a three-point play converted and Danny Green had a chance to steal the game late but his three-pointer was blocked by Steven Adams to preserve the win for OKC.
The Thunder travel to face the Orlando Magic while the Spurs makes their home debut against the Brooklyn Nets Friday.