LaMarcus Aldridge vs. DeAndre Jordan
Although I am not sure these two will be matched up against each other from the start, I think it is inevitable that they will guard each other for a big portion of this game. Aldridge is not technically listed as the Spurs center, but he has been playing a lot of center minutes this year.
Jordan, on the other hand, is nothing but a big, bad, center who takes pride in his command of the center of the court on both ends. He protects the paint at an above average rate, but he does struggle a lot having to cover guys that can step out and hit shots. Guys like LaMarcus Aldridge.
Aldridge is not quite as dominant of a player as he used to be. When he was with the Blazers, LA was considered one of the most dominant power forwards in the league with a midrange jumper to rival anyone else in the league. He has since expanded his range all the way out to the three-point line, but he has lost a step 33 years old.
If DeAndre does end up having to guard Aldridge a lot tonight, it could get ugly. That isn’t anything against Jordan, who has been exceptional so far this year, that is just the fact that Aldridge represents a very difficult style of play for DJ to matchup against.
That said, Aldridge will have his hands full with the pick-and-roll offense the Mavs run. His lack of agility at this point could be taken advantage of by Dallas if they so choose. And they should definitely choose to attack that as much as possible.
I probably give LA the slight edge in this matchup, but if the Mavs can figure out a way to use a smaller forward against LA in order to limit his effectiveness outside of the paint, it could be a great strategy for Dallas.