LaMarcus Aldridge

Three Stars of the Night: Turn It Around

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How about those road Warriors? They didn’t have Stephen Curry, Andrew Bogut, Carl Landry, or Harrison Barnes…and they still shot 53 percent in a 108-95 victory in Cleveland. A lot of that credit goes to Klay Thompson, who just missed the cut despite dropping a career-high 32 points. That’s how good our Three Stars were tonight, so let’s get right to them:

Third Star: David Lee – (20 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists)

Lee makes so much of Golden State’s offense work with his high post play and ability in the pick and roll, and tonight no was no exception. Even with the Warriors having to dig deep into their bench, Lee made the offense work by consistently making the right decisions. He’s always been a dogged offensive rebounder and good finisher, but Lee is so much more complete than he was a few years ago. It’s frightening to think how good Golden State can be with Andrew Bogut’s defense filling in the only real gaps in Lee’s game.

Second Star: Brandon Jennings – (30 points in 30 minutes, 6 assists)

Jennings and the Bucks both came out slow against the Pistons, but it didn’t take them long to turn it on. After the Bucks captured the lead with a big second quarter, Jennings sealed the deal with maybe the best short scoring burst we’ve seen this year. Halfway through the third quarter, Jennings scored on six straight possessions. For those scoring at home, it looked like this: Layup-two free throws-3-3-3-3. That’s a 16 point flurry on consecutive possessions with no misses in a little over two minutes of game time. You won’t see a scoring explosion like that again this year.

First Star: LaMarcus Aldridge – (29 points, 13 rebounds, game-tying and game-winning shots)

Never, ever count the Blazers out of a game at home. Dallas probably thought they had it in the bag up 21 in the third quarter, but they didn’t count on LaMarcus Aldridge performing miracles. After climbing all the way back, the Blazers found themselves down just three with about 11 seconds left. Aldridge set a down screen, got the ball, and then stepped back behind the 3-point line like that’s something he regularly does. Aldridge hadn’t hit a 3-pointer all season, but his huge shot from the 3-ball tied the game and sent the Rose Garden into hysteria. Thanks to a drawn charge on the other end by Ronnie Price, the Blazers incredibly got a chance to win it in overtime, and there was no doubt who they were going to. That’s the thing about Aldridge — he has two moves in the post, but because he’s so long, they’re still really tough to stop. Aldridge went to his patented turnaround with the game on the line, and it fell through to give the Blazers a dramatic home win.

Report: Sixers expected to waive Tibor Pleiss after trade with Jazz

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 30: Tibor Pleiss #21 of the Utah Jazz controls the ball in the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on October 30, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.

Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.

Jordan releases new Russell Westbrook ad, may include a shot at Kevin Durant

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 28:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (L) and Russell Westbrook #0 look on during a press conference after the Golden State Warriors defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-101 in game six of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 28, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
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As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”

Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.

Kobe Bryant on how teams should see Warriors: “‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go.”

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 03:  Retired NBA Champion, CEO, Kobe Inc., Kobe Bryant speaks onstage during 2016 Milken Institute Global Conference at The Beverly Hilton on May 03, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
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For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.

His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).

“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”

Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.

We’re going to miss Kobe.

 

Report: Dwyane Wade’s cousin killed as innocent bystander in gang shooting in Chicago

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 29:  General manager Gar Forman of the Chicago Bulls (L) listens as Dwyane Wade speaks during an introductory press conference at the Advocate Center on July 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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This news is just sickening. In a world with just too much sickening news.

According to NBC 5 in Chicago (which spoke to police), Dwyane Wade‘s first cousin Nykea Aldridge was pushing a stroller down the street when she was shot and killed as an innocent in the crossfire of a gang shooting.

The 32-year-old woman, whom family identified as Nykea Aldridge, was apparently the unintended victim of a gang shooting, police said. She was walking around 3:30 p.m. in the 6300 block of South Calumet when two males approached another male and opened fire, police said.

Wade tweeted this.

Aldridge was on her way to a local school to register her kids (they had just moved) when the shooting took place. There has been a rash of gang and gun violence in Chicago in the past year, and Dwyane’s mother Jolinda Wade had just been on a panel on ESPN’s Undefeated talking about it.

Wade is coming to play for his hometown Chicago Bulls this season.

Our thoughts are with Nykea Aldridge’s family and friends.