LaMarcus Aldridge

Three Stars of the Night: Turn It Around


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.

Spurs Danny Green has strained quadricep, out three weeks

SAN ANTONIO,TX - APRIL 30: Fans celebrate a three with Danny Green #14 of the San Antonio Spurs against the Oklahoma City Thunder during game one of the Western Conference Semifinals for the 2016 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on April 30, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. 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 Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
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The Spurs are counting on Danny Green to regain his top-flight “3&D” form this season and give them another defender and weapon when they go up against that potential juggernaut out West. And the Clippers, too.

But that comeback is getting off to a slow start, the team announced Friday.

This likely means a little more run for Manu Ginobili and Kevin Martin to start the season, plus some funky lineups from Gregg Popovich.

Green played great defense last season but struggled from three (where 60 percent of his attempts are taken). Green shot 33.2 percent from deep on the season, which is well below his career average of 40.3 percent (and last year’s down numbers were buoyed by a red-hot January, he was much worse the rest of the season).

It’s something for Spurs fans to monitor, they need to get his legs right before his shot can return.

PBT Extra: Who wins MVP, other NBA end-of-season awards?

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The NBA’s award season seems more wide open than ever.

Ben Simmons was going to enter the season as the heavy favorite to win Rookie of the Year, but with him out injured the door is flung open to a lot of players. Coach of the Year is always a game of “which coach exceeds expectations.” Even MVP seems more open with Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant — the award winners the past three seasons — teamed up in the Bay Area.

In this latest PBT Extra I throw out my predictions for the awards, but let’s get on with the games next week and see who earns them.

Sixers Nerlens Noel to miss time following surgery on sore knee

CAMDEN, NJ - SEPTEMBER 26: Nerlens Noel #4 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on during media day on September 26, 2016 in Camden, New Jersey. 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)

During the ProBasketballTalk podcast with Sixers coach Brett Brown, you could hear the frustration in his voice. He has all these talented young front line players — Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Jahlil Okafor — but he can’t begin to figure out how they all fit together if he can’t get them on the court at the same time.

That problem just got worse.

The Sixers announced that Nerlens Noel will miss time following surgery to deal with soreness in his left knee. Here is the word from the press release itself:

During the normal course of evaluation and treatment for his left adductor strain, which was identified on October 6, Noel reported localized soreness in his left knee. After consulting with multiple specialists, the source of the soreness was identified as inflamed plica. Noel has elected to address the injury via a minor surgical procedure in the coming days.

The team gives no timeline for Noel’s return. Soreness from the plica — a band of tissue around the knee that is not important following birth — happens in some players and can be fixed by an arthroscopic surgery that removes the area being irritated. While the surgery is minor, it usually takes around six weeks to bounce back from this.

That likely means a little more run for Jahlil Okafor (just coming back from an injury of his own) and Richaun Holmes. But it’s just another injury setback for a Sixers team plagued by them.

The Sixers also announced that Jerryd Bayless will not have surgery on his wrist, but will remain out and be evaluated in two weeks.

If you didn’t watch the final seconds of the WNBA Finals, you should


This was flat out incredible.

After a back-and-forth, even series between the Minnesota Lynx and the Los Angeles Sparks, it came down to the final seconds (although maybe it shouldn’t have, the WNBA admitted Friday the referees missed a call with 1:14 left, giving the Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike a bucket on a shot after the shot clock expired).

The biggest stars took over at the end, as you can see in the video above: L.A.’s Candace Parker drives and scores with 19 seconds left putting the Sparks up 75-74; Minnesota responded with a Maya Moore jumper to take the lead back, then it came down to Ogwumike (the WNBA’s 2016 MVP) getting the ball after a block by Sylvia Fowles and following it up with a fadeaway bucket that gave Los Angeles the title.

Congrats to Candace Parker on the win, after how she’s been overlooked on the awards circuit in the WNBA this season, this is some sweet revenge.