SAN ANTONIO -- San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge has now registered season highs in scoring in back-to-back outings -- capping off Wednesday night's 110-97 win over the New Orleans Pelicans with a 36-point effort.
With no timetable for Tim Duncan's return to the starting lineup, Aldridge's resurgence comes at the right time for the Spurs, who captured their 27th consecutive victory at the AT&T Center behind a gritty performance from their prized free-agent acquisition.
“Well, LaMarcus is feeling more and more comfortable all the time as the season progresses,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “I thought he was magnificent at both ends.”
In addition to connecting on 12 of 20 shots, including nailing all 12 of his free throw attempts, Aldridge snagged six rebounds and blocked three shots while limiting Pelicans forward Anthony Davis in the fourth quarter to just three points.
Davis finished the night with 28 points, but he scored 16 of those in the first half.
“Anthony got three points in the fourth quarter, and LaMarcus did a great job on him,” Popovich said. “So I thought he was special.”
While Aldridge drew the majority of the responsibility of handling Davis, the forward received plenty of defensive help from teammates Kawhi Leonard and David West, who also contributed 26 points and 14 points, respectively.
“I thought our guys played great. The weak side was over. I tried to crowd him," Aldridge said of Davis. "He's one of those guys where he can score whenever, and I just tried to be physical with him. I thought our guys had my back out there. David [West] came over. Kawhi came over. I thought our guys were definitely locked in.”
Aldridge also seemed locked in offensively. He scored 14 points in the first half, before ratcheting up the production to close out the game. Aldridge followed up a 10-point third quarter with 12 more in the final frame.
Danny Green chipped in 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-8 from long range.
Point guard Tony Parker attempted just two shots the entire night and finished with two points. But Parker dished eight assists and considered the matchup against the Pelicans an “easy night” due to his teammates playing with extra aggression on the offensive end -- especially Aldridge.
“I was just watching, and playing good defense,” Parker joked.
Aldridge has connected on 21-of-33 attempts over the past two games and called more for the ball.
“He was very aggressive tonight, and he wanted the ball,” Parker said. “So I just gave him the ball and got out of the way. I keep telling him he needs to play like that every game. I hope it's Anthony Davis every game, so he can have that mindset.”
With Duncan nursing a sore right knee, the Spurs need Aldridge and West to compensate for the loss on defense, while contributing their fair share on offense.
“LaMarcus is just now getting more comfortable, being more aggressive," Green said. "Especially with Timmy out, we need him to be."
West dished five assists, in addition to hitting 5-of-8 from the field.
"David is just a pro," Popovich said. "He understands the game. He knows how to play, and he's got a great demeanor, a great pace about him. He's always under control, and it shows. His steadiness is really important while Timmy is not in there."
Aldridge's 36 points represented a San Antonio season high for scoring and the largest output by a Spurs player since Jan. 22, 2014, when Parker racked up 37 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Leonard previously held the team's 2015-16 season high for scoring with his 32-point night in the season opener at Oklahoma City.
After a rough night marred by early foul trouble during the team's Jan. 31 loss at Cleveland, Aldridge hopes to continue his recent run of good fortune in San Antonio's past two outings.
“The ball's been going in. I'm taking the shots and making them,” Aldridge said. “I'm playing more confident, like myself, and I think the team has fed off the energy. It feels good for sure. I think it's definitely been big for us these last couple of games. Hopefully, it keeps up.”