The San Antonio Spurs experienced their first losing Rodeo Road Trip one year ago and now are determined to not let that happen again this season. They took a step in the right direction as they kicked off the 2016 trip in Florida.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 28 points as he led the Spurs to a 119-101 win over the Miami Heat inside the AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday night.
Kawhi Leonard added 23 points and Danny Green chipped in 15 for San Antonio, who will be away from home for the next month while the Stock Show and Rodeo invades the AT&T Center.
While all eyes are on the Golden State Warriors historic start, San Antonio quietly right behind the defending champions, just 3 1/2 games behind them in fact, for the top spot in the Western Conference.
“We prefer it that way,” Green said of flying under the radar. “Even if we weren’t under the radar, we’d still have to be focused and not pay attention to what goes on outside of what we’re doing.”
The Heat were led by Dwyane Wade’s 20 points. Chris Bosh added 18 and Hassan Whiteside chipped in 14 before being ejected for elbowing San Antonio big man Boban Marjanovic to the head while fighting for a rebound.
“Whatever consequences come from it, he’s got to deal with it,” Wade said of Whiteside’s actions.
San Antonio struggled in the first quarter, shooting just 26 percent from the field. It would not be until the fourth quarter where the Silver and Black would pull away, outscoring Miami 34-26 in the final period.
The Silver and Black were without Tim Duncan (sore knee), Manu Ginobili (surgery recovery), Matt Bonner (calf) and Kyle Anderson (illness).
The Spurs are now 44-8 on the season and will return to the court tomorrow night when they travel to Orlando to face the Magic at 6 p.m. inside the Amway Center.