Portland Trail Blazers v Dallas Mavericks

Aldridge says he’s a No. 1, Blazers should build around him

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Is LaMarcus Aldridge a real No. 1 guy for an NBA team?

How you answer that question determines what you think the Blazers need to be doing as they restructure the roster. If you think he is a Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Howard you can build a contender around, then the Blazers should be fitting pieces around him. If you think he is a No. 2 guy — a Pau Gasol, Chris Bosh type that is very good but needs to be the second option on a contender — then the Blazers need to be in the market for one of those guys.

There is no question where Aldridge thinks he falls on that list. From Chris Haynes at CSNNW.com.

“I think every team in this league feels that I’m a number one and that’s why they double-team me and they scheme me the way they do it,” Aldridge told CSNNW.com. “If I wasn’t a number one, teams wouldn’t double-team me and teams wouldn’t try to take me out.

“So I don’t think there’s no need to bring in a number one. This organization can do whatever they want to do, but I think it’s definitely good to keep putting really solid pieces around myself, Dame [Lillard], Meyers [Leonard], and J.J. [Hickson]. But I don’t think it’s no need to bring in a number one, but if they do, I’ll play my role.”

Seven seasons into Aldridge’s career, he’s an All-Star who can bring you an efficient 21 and 8 every night. I think a lot of people around the nation, who don’t see the Blazers regularly, don’t realize just how good a player he is.

But he needs a No. 1 up there in Portland to go with him. Sorry. They have some interesting young pieces up in Portland with rookie Damian Lillard and the potential of J.J. Hickson, but even as they develop this team strikes me as the Pau Gasol Grizzlies. A team a piece away.

Report: Bucks brought Jabari Parker off bench for discussing with media team’s meeting

Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker, center, looks for an open teammate as he is surrounded by Miami Heat players during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Bucks 109-97. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Associated Press
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The Milwaukee Bucks had lost four in a row and had slid out of a playoff slot in the East. It’s not one end of the court — in their last five games, the Bucks had the second-worst defense and fourth-worst offense in the NBA. After that fourth loss, the team held a players’ only meeting, one where Jabari Parker reportedly ripped his teammates for a lack of togetherness.

In the postgame media sessions that followed, Parker told the press he confirmed there was a meeting and said he had been “thrashed” by his teammates for what he said.

It was that speaking to the media that got him benched for a game — as decided by his teammates — reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker did not start in Saturday’s road loss to the Miami Heat for violating a team rule that prohibits disclosing locker room discourse to the media, league sources told ESPN…

Parker’s teammates deliberated and decided the appropriate punishment for the violation was to bring him off the bench against the Heat, league sources told ESPN. It was the first time this season that he did not start.

The meeting and the benching didn’t help, the Bucks fell to the lowly Heat 109-97. (Team/players meetings are overrated in how often they help teams turn things around.)

The good news for the Bucks is that in a tight East they remain just a game out of the playoffs and three games out of the five seed. It’s going to be a tough week to turn that around with the Rockets, resurgent Sixers, Raptors, and Celtics on the schedule.

 

Denver’s Kenneth Faried gets up, blocks DeAndre Jordan dunk attempt (VIDEO)

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Without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in the lineup, the Clippers don’t have much going for them offensively. However, there is one thing: DeAndre Jordan can still run to the rim and dunk with authority.

Denver’s Kenneth Faried took that away Saturday.

Faried hustled back in transition, showed he still had some hops and swatted away a Jordan dunk attempt.

The Nuggets went on to win the game comfortably, 123-98, behind 19 points and 10 boards from Nikola Jokic.

Suns’ Devin Booker sinks three that defeats Knicks (VIDEO)

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The Knicks last three losses have come by a total of six points. The team is not good, a little banged up, and doesn’t play any defense, but New York also has just had a run of bad luck.

The latest example: Phoenix’s Devin Booker draining a three to knock off New York, 107-105. It was a mistake by Derrick Rose, who sagged down to the free throw line watching Eric Bledsoe with the ball coming off the pick, which led to the open pass. Also, notice that Booker set up three feet back of the three-point line — this is a trend a lot of teams and good shooters are following (watch a Rockets’ game) because it makes the closeout harder. Rose would have contested a shot at the arc, but Booker gets a clean look from where he spotted up, and drills it.

Carmelo Anthony got a shot to win it for the Knicks, but his rimmed out.

Kawhi Leonard drops 41, Spurs best Cavaliers in OT in what may be game of the Year (VIDEO)

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The Spurs would like you to include them in your conversations about contenders.

Without Pau Gasol (hand) or Tony Parker (foot), San Antonio went into Cleveland and beat the defending NBA champions in OT 118-115 in what was one of the wildest, most entertaining games of the season. Check out the clutch-time action above, including LeBron James hitting a three Shaker Heights.

But the real star was Kawhi Leonard, who put up a career-best 41 on 30 shots. He’s the guy who has to create and make plays for this offense, and he did it on a big stage. LeBron added 29 points. Between them, they put on quite a show.