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DeMar DeRozan says San Antonio relishes playing against the best

Spurs, DeMar DeRozan

Some NBA teams crumble when faced with the stiffest of competition. San Antonio Spurs shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, however, feels the Spurs are at their best in those scenarios.

DeRozan and the Spurs welcomed the Oklahoma City Thunder to town on Thursday night. After a hard-fought battle — one that took two overtime periods to decide — San Antonio walked away with the win, 154-147.

DeRozan logged a whopping 49 minutes in Thursday’s game, scoring 16 points on 7-of-22 shooting from the field, 11 assists, eight rebounds, one block and one steal. He had a shot at winning the game in regulation, but Russell Westbrook’s pesky defense forced a miss.

During his post-game media availability, DeRozan noted his desire to play against the best teams in the NBA.

“We love playing against the best,” DeRozan told San Antonio Express-News’ Tom Osborn after Thursday night’s game. “It brings the best out of us without a doubt, showing we can compete with the best in this league. There is no question about it. When we line up with ’em, we are definitely going to give our best.”

While DeRozan played well, it was LaMarcus Aldridge who stole the show. His stat line was simply incredible. In 49 minutes of action, the former Texas Longhorn scored a career-high 56 points on 20-of-33 shooting from the field (16-of-16 from the free-throw line), nine rebounds, four assists and four blocks. His previous career-high in points was 45, which he set against the Utah Jazz on March 23, 2018.

“He’s been a beast all year long,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said of Aldridge. “He anchors us at both ends of the floor. He did it last year, and he’s doing it this year, too. He’s just been fantastic. Obviously, he had a great night.”

Orsborn had more from DeRozan’s postgame presser, with the four-time All-Star describing what it’s like to be in a zone. “You kind of feel every seam of the ball… everything you do feels on point,” he said. “[Aldridge] was dominant…and led us to victory.”

The Spurs improved their record to 25-18 with Thursday’s win over the Thunder. San Antonio’s next shot at claiming a victory comes on Saturday night, when they’ll face the Thunder yet again — this time in Oklahoma City.