Tonight we will play the four — three power forwards who keyed their teams’ wins.
Third Star: Glen Davis (24 points, 6 rebounds)
A night after an emotional win in Los Angeles — don’t think for a second those Magic players didn’t enjoy beating and embarrassing Dwight Howard after standing up for him for years only to feel deserted — for Orlando to come back the next night with a win in Golden State is impressive. Big Baby was at the heart of it, scoring 24 and grabbing six rebounds. It was Davis’ second big game in a row and for much of the night the Warriors had no answer for him inside.
Second Star: LaMarcus Aldridge(25 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists)
There are times when you are watching the Blazers when it seems the other four guys on the floor just forget LaMarcus Aldridge is the best player on the team and stop getting him the rock. That happened for a stretch in this game. But during the Blazers dramatic 18-point comeback — fear Luke Babbitt — Aldridge had six points on 3-of-4 shooting, but more importantly six rebounds, three offensive. Then in the OT Aldridge had another bucket and three more boards. He was at the heart of the comeback and had a line that reminds you he is an All-Star.
First Star: Blake Griffin(30 points, 11 rebounds)
Blake Griffin is off to a slow start this season — he has struggled in isolation sets, he is taking fewer shots at the rim and converting them at a lower percentage — but he seemed to break out of it against the Jazz with his biggest night of the season. What he seemed to be was aggressive again — he was getting transition buckets and dunks, he was making things happen with his crazy athleticism. Griffin gets criticism for not having a more rounded game — no steady outside shot, no go to move if you take the spin in the post away — but when he can do is run and jump and dunk and when he does those things he impacts the game. Like he did against Utah. It’s be nice to develop the Tim Duncan in his game, but that can’t come at the expense of him being Blake Griffin. Dunks aren’t just highlights, they are a very efficient two points.
Check out Top 10 plays from Timberwolves last season
There are questions still to be answered: Will Bosh still be on blood thinners, and will he come off them on game days? Will there be restrictions on his travel? Will there be restrictions on his minutes?
But Bosh wants to play, and it sounds like the Heat owner is down with that.
The Heat are a much better team with Bosh on the court — he averaged 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, shot 36.7 percent from three and a true shooting percentage of 57.1, plus he had a PER of 20.2. He was an All-Star, but couldn’t play in the game because of the clotting issue.
With Bosh, the Heat are in the mix for a playoff spot this season. The question is, will they have him for the full season.
Sixers waive both Carl Landry, just acquired Tibor Pleiss
Carl Landry and Tibor Pleiss are going to get paid this year — they both had fully guaranteed contracts for this season.
But they are not going to be playing for the Philadelphia 76ers this season — both were waived by the team on Thursday. This was not unexpected. Both players salaries will count against the cap for the Sixers (they are still $16 million below the league salary floor).
Once they clear waivers, both players will be unrestricted free agents (Landry likely will latch on with another team for the league minimum, Pleiss may as well or could head overseas).
Pleiss is in the same boat in terms of minutes, he was acquired from the Jazz along with a couple of second round draft picks just a few days back (the Sixers sent Utah Kendall Marshall, who was promptly waived). That trade was really about getting the picks — a very Sam Hinkie move by Bryan Colangelo.
This didn’t move the needle much on the Sixers season.
Trail Blazers Noah Vonleh out 3-4 weeks following leg surgery
This is a huge season — a contract kind of season of sorts — for Noah Vonleh in Portland. The team has an option on him next season (the third of his rookie deal), and to impress people he is going to have to earn minutes at the four in front of Al-Farouq Aminu, Moe Harkless, Meyers Leonard, and Ed Davis.
The Blazers have high hopes for Vonleh, he was a central part of the Nicolas Batum trade with Charlotte. However, watching Vonleh at Summer League — 12 points a game on 46.3 percent shooting, 8.8 rebounds a game in more than 30 minutes a night — he didn’t show the development anyone had hoped to see. He should have dominated at that level. He didn’t.