SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs successfully rang out an eventful 2015 with yet another blowout victory to extend their franchise record home winning streak.
It was a year that saw them add LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency after being bounced from the opening round of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Clippers and the 6-foot-10 forward continued to show why he was so highly sought after.
Aldridge had 21 points and 12 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season, helping San Antonio rout the Phoenix Suns 112-79 on Wednesday night for its 19th straight home win to start the season.
"Yeah for sure (the winning streak is impressive)," Spurs point guard Tony Parker said. "It’s not that we care about the record, but we know we’ve been very successful (at home) and we haven’t given away any games at home. On the road, we gave away a couple, but the most important thing with that kind of record is that we have feeling that we can do so many things better. That’s a great situation because we know we can improve a lot."
San Antonio also extended its franchise-record home winning streak to 28 straight games dating to last season by holding Phoenix to several dubious marks.
The Suns, who have lost six straight, had season lows for total points, first-half points (33) and points in the opening quarter (12). Their previous season low for total points was 84 against the Spurs on Nov. 23.
San Antonio (28-6) has won 19 games this season by double digits.
"We’ve had a lot of good defensive performances and this was another one," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We caught a break because all of their guys aren’t there. They’ve got some injuries to some people they need."
San Antonio led by as many as 38 points and never trailed after Phoenix scored the opening basket. The Spurs shut down the Suns’ defensively while exploiting them offensively in their second game since losing Eric Bledsoe to a season-ending knee injury.
Tim Duncan missed his third straight game due to right knee soreness, but he wasn’t needed in a game where Aldridge, Parker and Kawhi Leonard all sat out the fourth quarter.
Leonard had 19 points, Boris Diaw added 13 and Parker had 12 points and seven assists for San Antonio.
Leonard did not have a field attempt in the first 8 minutes of the game as the Spurs instead took advantage of mismatches for Aldridge and David West. In those opening 8 minutes Aldridge had eight points and West had two points and three rebounds. It resulted in two early fouls each Alex Len and Jon Leuer each had two early fouls, forcing Suns coach Jeff Hornacek to go to his bench in the first four minutes.
"I really didn’t see anything (different)," Aldridge said. "I think the flow of the game was just different tonight. I ended up getting some shots that were open. Got a good rhythm going."
West finished the game with just four points and five rebounds, but his defence and passing were critical.
Aldridge handed the ball off to West, who tossed the ball cross court to Danny Green. Green drove to the paint from the 3-point line and tossed the ball back to West, who flipped the ball back to Leonard for a corner 3-pointer for a 48-20 lead.
"He’s huge," Suns centre Tyson Chandler said. "David is such a smart player. He’s been one of the best power forwards in this game for a while. For him it’s going to be about playoffs, they are going to need him more down the stretch than right now."
Suns: Phoenix’s previous low for points in a quarter was 14 on Nov. 6 against Detroit. … G Ronnie Price did not play due to a sprained right big toe.
Spurs: The Spurs’ 19 straight home wins is the third best starter in Western Conference history, trailing the 20 wins by the 1986 Houston Rockets and 26 consecutive by the 1978 Portland Trail Blazers. … The Suns’ 12-point first quarter matched the season low for a Spurs’ opponent set by Philadelphia on Nov. 14.
Suns: At Oklahoma City on Thursday night.
Spurs: Host Houston on Saturday night.
Popovich called a timeout after Phoenix scored a pair of baskets during the second quarter even though the Spurs were leading comfortably.
With the Spurs leading 87-61, he also walked over and spoke to West and Aldridge on the bench. He pointed to the court and motioned as if to let them know what to do in certain sets.
"That’s just the way he is," Aldridge said of Popovich. "It’s not about the score. It’s about us trying to get better every time we’re out there. That’s just who he is."