It’s safe to say that things haven’t gone quite as well as we’d all thought they would go with LaMarcus Aldridge in San Antonio. The Spurs picked him up years ago now, and he was seen as the next big man in. From David Robinson to Tim Duncan, the tradition would live on with Aldridge. But for one reason or another, things have never seemed to take off like they should. None of that mattered on Thursday night, however, as he helped his team to a 154-147 over the Oklahoma City Thunder in double overtime. Aldridge finished with a startling 56 points on the night, a career-high as he and his team held on as Russell Westbrook delivered an oh-so typical triple-double of his own by posting 24 points and assists and 13 rebounds as well. In addition to the way Aldridge played, the Spurs shot the ball incredibly well from deep. In fact, they nailed 14 3’s in a row to begin the game and they overall finished with 16 of them made from 19. That equates to the highest percentage of made 3’s in the history of the league (counting only those with 15+ attempts). However, it was Aldridge’s night, and he didn’t even shoot a 3 at all, which makes it even more impressive in the modern NBA that he could have scored 56 that way. It reminds you of the days of Shaq dominating in the paint. What’s even more ridiculous is how Aldridge ‘only’ had 14 points in the first half. In the second half and the two OT periods, he would rack up 42 points. He earned the right to keep the ball, and with it, he helped hand coach Gregg Popovich his 1,222nd career win, making him third all time in the NBA now.
Elsewhere, college hoops are in the full swing of the conference action now, and that meant that UCLA had a trip to Oregon in the Pac-12 to make. The Bruins, who came into the game 2-0 since firing Steve Alford as coach, were facing the preseason expected conference champions. And for a while, it looked as if the preseason favorites would hold it down and take the ‘W.’ UCLA found itself down by as many as 17 points in the second half, but they continued to fight for every possession. They were down eight points with under 50 seconds to go in regulation. But Jaylen Hands scored six points in the blink of an eye, part of his 16, and they somehow miraculously came back from seven down to force overtime. Once they got to it, there could be only one winner. UCLA took the game 87-84 in one of the craziest ones you’ll see all season long.