No matter whom the Rockets have thrown at LaMarcus Aldridge, he has dominated in this series.LaMarcus Aldridge became the third player in NBA postseason history with at least 40 points in Games 1 and 2 of a series on the road (Tracy McGrady in 2003 and Michael Jordan in 1986 are the others), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Though he certainly had success in both games, his success came in much different ways.
LaMarcus Aldridge By Play Type
Aldridge took advantage of the Houston Rockets' smaller defenders in Game 1. The 6-foot-9 Terrence Jones drew the Aldridge assignment more than any other Rocket in Game 1, guarding him on 16 of 40 possessions.
Against the smaller Jones, Aldridge went inside, posting up on 10 of those 16 possessions. Aldridge's average field goal attempt distance was 6.5 feet and he went 7-for-13 (18 points) from the floor when guarded by Jones.
Aldridge scored a total of 16 points on post-up plays in the game, doubling his season average (8.3) on such plays.
The Rockets came out with a different defensive scheme against Aldridge for Game 2. Houston used 7-footer Omer Asik the majority of the time, as he guarded Aldridge on 17 of 33 plays, while Jones drew the assignment on only five possessions.
LaMarcus Aldridge Offense: 2014 Playoffs
But Aldridge still had his way on the offensive end. Against Asik, Aldridge went 7-for-14 (19 points) from the floor. He didn’t miss the paint a bit, instead turning to his midrange game, with an average field goal attempt distance of 13.6 feet when guarded by Asik.
Aldridge has basically had his way this entire series, no matter the defender. Dwight Howard has logged time against Aldridge as well in both games, but he has done the worst at limiting him. Aldridge is averaging 14.5 points per game against Howard, and went 6-for-7 against him in Game 2.
What should the Rockets do now?
Houston may have to start doubling Aldridge when he touches the ball. Through the first two games, the Rockets left defenders on an island when guarding Aldridge, hardly ever sending any help.
Aldridge by Rockets Defender
For example, in the first two games of the series, the Rockets sent a hard double-team at Aldridge in the post on only six of 25 plays. On those six plays, Aldridge went 3-for-5 (six points), but was blocked twice and forced to kick the ball out once.
Obviously there is a very small sample size of when Aldridge was double-teamed in the post. However, the Rockets have tried going small and tried going big against him, to no avail. Aldridge has had success against virtually every defender the Rockets have thrown at him and he's done it from all over the court.
Houston must make life more difficult for him on the catch and send help in Game 3.