Rockets focused on slowing down Aldridge

Rockets focused on slowing down Aldridge
April 19, 2014, 4:30 pm
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(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

The one Blazer that the Rockets had the most difficulty dealing with over their four-game regular season series was clearly power forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge had several monster games against Houston this season and averaged 26.5 points and 15.5 rebounds per game against Houston this season. He also committed just four turnovers all season against Houston in 156 minutes of action.

"He's a helluva player. He's a tough shot maker, he can shoot over the top," Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said. "We're going to give him some different looks, we're going to do some different things to try to get him off his game. He's one of those guys, that if he's making those tough turnaround fadeaways, it's hard (to stop him)."

"He's a tough shot maker, and tough shot-makers, they at times can get you down," McHale added. "We just have to make him take a lot of shots to get his points. Where he's really hurt us is on the boards. He's hammered us with his rebounding. that's a big area for us. We've got to handle the boards."

Aldridge turned in arguably the best game of his career, when he lit up Houston for 31 points and 25 rebounds in the Blazers' lone win over the Rockets this season. He also had 27 points and 20 rebounds in the Blazers' 126-113 loss at Houston in January. He now has just five games in his 577-game career that he's scored at least 20 points and grabbed at least 20 rebounds.

At tip-off of game one, Rockets second-year forward and Portland-native Terrence Jones will be matched up with Aldridge.

"I feel I'm a little bit more prepared (for the matchup with Aldridge)," Jones said. "I feel a little bit more experienced and it's the playoffs, so I'm just going to try to give it 100 percent. I just want to be physical and I want to make sure I make it tough on him. He's a great player and he scores in a lot of ways."

Jones only played 50 minutes against the Blazers this season as he had not become a starter and was not a part of the rotation when the two teams met early in the season. He expects the Rockets to try a lot of different things to try to make it tough on Aldridge, including using Dwight Howard or Omer Asik on Aldridge at times.

"This might be one of those games," McHale said. "If we're having a heck of a time with Aldridge, try to put one of our big centers on him."

"He's one of the better power forwards in the league," Parsons said of Aldridge. "He's had a great year, we respect him a lot. He makes tough shots, which is a bad thing, but it's a good thing, because he settles for a lot of contested, fadeaway jump shots. It's tough because he makes them at a very high rate, so he's tough to guard and we're going to have to switch up our coverages on him."