Dion Waiters says LaMarcus Aldridge alone can't beat OKC

ByRoyce Young ESPN logo
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY -- LaMarcus Aldridge has scored 79 points on 33-of-44 shooting in the first two games against the Oklahoma City Thunder. But despite 41 in Game 2 where he made 15 of his 21 shots, the Thunder escaped with a 98-97 win to even the series against theSan Antonio Spurs1-1.

"One man can't beat you," Thunder guard Dion Waiters said Wednesday. "So we're fine with that. If they want to continue to get out of their offense and throw the ball down there to him, we're fine with that. One guy can't beat us, no matter how much he scores."

"We've just got to make adjustments, try to make it tough on him," Waiters said. "He's a great player in this league, an All-Star. He's going to make shots. He's playing tremendous right now. But we're fine with one guy just beating us. We're fine with that. At the end of the day, Serge [Ibaka] and Steven [Adams] got to continue to do what they've been doing, but guys are going to make shots in the NBA and as long as they're not running the offense and dropping it down to them, we're living with that."

Aldridge was asked by reporters in San Antonio if he's putting pressure on himself to not cool down after his two big games in the series.

"I'm just playing basketball. I'm not trying to go do it [have a huge game]," he said. "You know, honestly, I didn't think that I'd do it again after the first game. It's just I'm going with the flow of the game out there."

The Thunder primarily stuck with single coverage on Aldridge, with coach Billy Donovan saying they were mostly happy with the defense on the Spurs power forward. In the series, Aldridge is 17-of-26 on contested shots.

"We're making him take the shots that we want, and he's just making them," Adams said. "That's the only thing that's kind of bumming us out right now. ... We're making him take similar shots [as in the past] and he's just making all of them. And it sucks."

Ibaka and Adams have had the main assignment on Aldridge, with the Thunder doubling sporadically in Game 2. Asked if the Thunder are likely to feature that more in Game 3, Donovan said it's a possibility, but he also doesn't want to compromise the rest of the Thunder's defensive integrity just trying to stop Aldridge.

"I think there's been some times where Serge and Steven have done a really good job and he's made tough shots," Donovan said. "I think you have to give him a lot of credit for how well he's put the ball in the basket."

ESPN's Michael C. Wright contributed to this report.