Basketball

Aldridge bags double-double to help Spurs stop Rockets

LaMarcus Aldridge posted a double-double and paced the hosts San Antonio Spurs to a 96-89 victory over the Houston Rockets yesterday morning (Singapore time) in the first meeting this season between the Southwest Division rivals.

Aldridge finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds, while Derrick White added 14 points and eight assists.

After the Rockets closed to within 86-85 on a James Harden lay-up, White drilled a three-pointer at the 2:48 mark of the fourth quarter. Aldridge added a 14-footer to end the threat.

DeMar DeRozan and Bryn Forbes scored 13 points apiece for the Spurs, who snapped a two-game skid.

Harden led the Rockets with 25 points, but shot just seven of 27 from the field.

Eric Gordon added 23 off the bench and Clint Capela recorded a double-double (12 points, 17 boards) for the Rockets, who dropped the final two games of their five-game road trip while shooting just 33.3 per cent (30 for 90).

Houston, playing without Carmelo Anthony (illness), entered the game last in the league in field-goal percentage.

Houston trailed 70-59 with 4:16 left in the third following a Marco Belinelli three-pointer but closed that frame with a 12-2 run capped by a Gordon trey with 25.7 seconds remaining in the period.

The Rockets continued their recent offensive struggles to open the game, missing their first five shots inside the arc while slipping into a nine-point hole.

Houston had recorded their fewest points under coach Mike D'Antoni in a 98-80 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday and needed Gordon to provide a boost after he missed three games to injury.

Gordon scored six points during an 11-0 run as Houston took a 21-20 lead into the second period. The Spurs responded with a 32-point quarter, slowed only by their 11 first-half turnovers that the Rockets converted into 16 points.

Houston managed a plus-10 margin in shot attempts in the first half, but the Spurs shot 52.9 per cent prior to the break fueled by Forbes' four-for-four, 10-point showing. With better ball security in the third, the Spurs extended their lead.

A bad pass from DeRozan at the 3:14 mark of the third accounted for the Spurs' first turnover of the third quarter. San Antonio had built its advantage to 11 points earlier in that period. - REUTERS

SELECTED RESULTS:

Chicago 99 Cleveland 98, Golden State 116 Brooklyn 100, Sacramento 86

LA Lakers 101, Dallas 111 Oklahoma 96

Basketball