);
San Antonio Spurs

LaMarcus Aldridge explodes for 48 points as Spurs hand short-handed Celtics fourth-straight loss

The San Antonio Spurs handed the Boston Celtics their fourth-straight loss and worst home loss of the season thanks to a monster night from LaMarcus Aldridge.

Aldridge exploded for 48 points, 13 rebounds and six assists on 20-for-31 shooting to lead the Spurs to a 115-96 win at TD Garden. DeMar DeRozan added 16 points and 11 assists, while Patty Mills chipped in 12 points off the bench.

The Spurs forward now has seven career 40-point games and 27 double-doubles on the season.

The Celtics were without Jayson Tatum (back) and Al Horford (knee soreness), with the latter's absence making life easier for Aldridge, who torched the Celtics bigs from start to finish.

Boston's offence sputtered all night as they shot just 40 percent from the field and 20 percent (7-for-35) from the 3-point line; no player made more than one triple on the night.

Marcus Smart the Celtics them in scoring with 14 points, while Gordon Hayward and Marcus Morris added 13 each. Kyrie Irving was held quiet with 11 points on 5-of-17 shooting, adding 12 assists on a frustrating night.

San Antonio raced out to a 31-24 lead in the first quarter, thanks to 19 points from Aldridge, who hit the Celtics with every move in his arsenal.

San Antonio continued to run their offence through Aldridge who finished with 25 points on 11-for-17 shooting at the half, while the Celtics shooting woes from deep continued, hitting just 2-for-19 attempts through the first two quarters.

Aldridge picked up where he left off in the third, scoring 11 points in the period and when a Kyrie Irving 3-pointer cut the lead to four points with 6:33 remaining, Aldridge and DeRozan took turns on offence helping extend the lead back to 12 points at the end of the period.

For every Celtics run, the Spurs had an answer, eventually getting the lead out to as many as 22 points in the fourth quarter, making it 10 wins in their last 12 outings.

The Spurs are locked in a tight race in the Western Conference, with today's win keeping them in the eighth seed, just a half game back of the Thunder and Jazz and 1.0 game back of the fifth-seeded Clippers.

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