The San Antonio Spurs just finished going toe-to-toe with a transformational power forward whose mid-range game stretched their defense to the max, needing seven games to oust Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.
Tiago Splitter and the Spurs made life difficult for Nowitzki in the opening round. And now they get Nowitzki 2.0 in the Western Conference semifinals when Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge comes to town.
Like Nowitzki, Aldridge relies heavily on the mid-range game, using every inch of his 6-foot-11 frame to get his jumper off against smaller defenders. When faced with someone his size, Aldridge has the strength and nimble feet to get past them, as he did time and time again in the Trail Blazers' defeat of the Houston Rockets in six games.