The San Antonio Spurs are not in as strong a position in their second round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder as you’d think. After a regular season in which they lost just one game, they’ve split their first two home games. Who knows where they’d be without LaMarcus Aldridge, who’s averaged 39.5 points over the first two contests. One would think that the Thunder would want to change their tactics against a guy who’s eating them alive, but Steven Adams says that’s not the case:
The Spurs are a strange hybrid on offense — they still embody many of the passing and motion principles that defined their run to the 2014 NBA title, but with Aldridge on the squad they have a low post/midrange bully like they did when Tim Duncan was at his peak. That similarity with Duncan means that Gregg Popovich has no problem designing ways to unleash LMA’s potential, but it also means the Spurs play slower and shoot fewer threes than the high-octane Warriors and Cavs (I mean, sheesh). If the Thunder say they’d rather give up twos to Aldridge than threes to Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Patty Mills, that’s a valid point. Then again, this is LaMarcus’ shot chart from the first two games:
While it’s safe to say he won’t continue to shoot 75 percent from the field, he still has attempted 26 of his 44 field goals from either right around the rim or in his favored low block. If those are the shots the Thunder are fine with him taking, they need to rethink some things. If they think they can survive with just a drop-off in all the other areas, then more power to them, but they can’t survive if Kawhi, Tony Parker, Danny Green and Patty Mills improve from the sub-40 percent shooting performance they all put forth in Game 2. OKC might be on thinner ice than they realize.