Tony Parker will miss the rest of the playoffs with a ruptured left quadriceps tendon, which, for all intents and purposes, may doom the Spurs’ title hopes.
That is unless, of course, LaMarcus Aldridge can find his way back from the milk carton.
“I never thought I’d say this, but Tony Parker is the second-best player that they had in this whole postseason,” San Antonio Express-News Spurs writer Jabari Young said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “We thought that LaMarcus Aldridge, the highest-paid player on the Spurs roster would be that guy, but Tony Parker – averaging 15.9 points, (scoring) 18 points (in Game 2) – he was really balling in this series. They’re not only going to miss his scoring and his production, but they’re going to miss his floor leadership. Other guys are definitely going to have to step up.”
And by “other guys,” Young means “LaMarcus Aldridge,” who is averaging 9.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in this series.
“LaMarcus Aldridge, I don’t know where he’s been,” Young said. “But if he’s in his shell, he better break out of it right now because his time to rise has to be now if the Spurs want to advance past the Houston Rockets. In the first series, he played his behind off defensively, and I’ll give him that. If you lost some energy battling Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph in the post, all right, cool. I’ll give that to you. But Ryan Anderson? Patrick Beverley? Come on, man. You got to ball. You got to ball. There’s no excuse.”
Aldridge averaged 23+ points and 10+ rebounds in each of his final two seasons in Portland, but his numbers have dipped in San Antonio. He averaged 17.3 points and 7.3 rebounds this season and is down to 13.5 points in the postseason.
“I need to see 25 and 10,” Young said. “I need to see 25 and 15. You need to get back to being the LaMarcus Aldridge that you were when you were with the Portland Trail Blazers. I understand that this roster and this team doesn’t run through you like the Portland Trail Blazers did, but you have to be that second guy because it’s going to take a second and a third and maybe even a fourth guy to get past the Houston Rockets. You got to score. You got to ball. You got to start now. If you don’t ball in Game 3 and Game 4 and you lose those games, the Spurs got to face some serious questions in the offseason about if they can have him on this roster going forward.”
Game 3 is Friday in Houston at 9:30 p.m. ET.