Aldridge’s 27 help Spurs beat Suns, 119-98, in Leonard’s absence
SAN ANTONIO — LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points and the San Antonio Spurs won without leading scorer Kawhi Leonard, beating the Phoenix Suns 119-98 on Wednesday night.
After trailing by as many as 10 points, San Antonio forced seven turnovers while outscoring Phoenix 30-16 in the final quarter to capture its sixth straight win at home.
Tony Parker added 20 points and Pau Gasol had 16 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio.
The Spurs were without Leonard for the first time this season. The 6-foot-7 forward, who has a stomach virus, was replaced in the lineup by Kyle Anderson.
T.J. Warren led Phoenix with 23 points, going 10 for 10 on free throws. Brandon Knight added 14 points and Marquese Chriss and Eric Bledsoe each had 13.
Although Anderson finished 0 for 6 from the field, San Antonio missed Leonard's defense more than his team-high 24.4 points per game.
Aldridge and Gasol combined for 29 points in the opening half, but the Suns countered with 34 points in the paint. The Suns attacked the rim, earning 11 free throws against a Spurs defense that was allowing only 20 per game.
Phoenix finished 18 for 22 on free throws and had 48 points in the paint.
The Spurs had trouble slowing the Suns, who are second in the league at 103.8 possessions per game and averaging 107.3 points.
After Aldridge scored a season-high 33 points against Chicago in a win Sunday, Phoenix limited the 6-foot-11 forward to three field goal attempts in the first 19 minutes. Aldridge finished the game 10 for 12 from the field and 7 for 9 on free throws.
Suns: Phoenix is 1-5 in back-to-back games entering Thursday's home game against Toronto. ... The Suns' last win in San Antonio was Feb. 27, 2013, snapping the Spurs' 18-game winning streak at the AT&T Center in their first home game following their annual rodeo road trip. ... The Suns are just the 11th opponent to outscore the Spurs' bench this season. ... Phoenix F Jared Dudley was healthy, but did not play due to coach's decision.
Spurs: Leonard has missed four games in his career due to a stomach ailment. "He just couldn't keep anything down today," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "So, he just stayed home." ... Every Spurs player with the exception of David Lee, Patty Mills and Jonathan Simmons has missed at least one game this season due to injury or for rest. San Antonio has 32 games missed as a team. ... Anderson made his seventh start of the season, but his first at small forward. The 6-9 wing started six games at shooting guard in place of Danny Green to open the season.
Suns: Host Toronto on Thursday night.
Spurs: Host Portland on Friday night.