Beyond Leonard’s mortality, and above Parker’s injury, one outrageous area of regard stays for San Antonio: a existence of LaMarcus Aldridge.
In a second half, those small-ball lineups revolved around Pau Gasol, not Aldridge, since a latter Spurs star is bogging his group down on both ends of a court.
He continues to reason a round too prolonged on offense, giving the Rockets time to conflict to San Antonio’s timing offense. Far some-more egregious, however, is Aldridge’s defense.
When a Rockets aren’t sharpened themselves in a foot, they’re putting Aldridge in unconstrained pick-and-rolls, adventurous him to dedicate to interlude Harden above a 3-point line.
Aldridge prefers to slip behind on defense, an proceed Popovich encourages since he knows his slow-footed large male doesn’t have what it takes to sidestep out on screens and redeem in time to stop an easy asperse during a rim. But Houston thrives when bigs offer such soothing coverage, radically personification 5-on-4 with one competition frozen to a free-throw line.
The Spurs can find a center belligerent here. For one, Popovich told reporters after a diversion Aldridge is “working by some things,” nonetheless a manager denied Aldridge has a knee injury.
From an Xs and Os standpoint, small-ball will continue to assistance San Antonio thrive. When Aldridge is a sole large male on a court, he’s forced to be some-more assertive in defense, and San Antonio’s wings have a speed to tab Aldridge’s male rolling down a line before shutting out to their possess marks.
But a oppressive law of a matter is a Spurs are trying to make a many of Aldridge since they overpaid him as a giveaway agent and they’re out of other options.
Spurs fans can take condolence in a fact his agreement has no some-more than dual years remaining.