LaMarcus Aldridge plans to shoot more 3-pointers

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The following chart shows the 60 players who took the most shots from at least 15 feet last season, sorted from left to right by most to least qualifying shots. The bars’ heights represent how many of those shots were 3-pointers.

As you’d expect, most players who take a lot of jump shots also take a lot of 3-pointers. Worth 50 percent more than long 2s and only marginally more difficult to make, 3s have a lot of value.

But there’s one notable exception. See him? Just in case you missed that tiny bar in the middle, I made it red.

(Click to enlarge.)

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The red bar is LaMarcus Aldridge, the Trail Blazers’ power forward who has shown a solid mid-range game but practically no range beyond the arc. Here are Aldridge’s year-by-year 3-point numbers:

  • 0-for-2 (0.0 percent)
  • 1-for-7 (14.3 percent)
  • 7-for-28 (25.0 percent)
  • 5-for-16 (31.3 percent)
  • 4-for-23 (17.4 percent)
  • 2-for-11 (18.2 percent)
  • 2-for-14 (14.3 percent)
  • Career: 21-for-101 (20.8 percent)

Now, Aldridge says he’s done being the outlying non-3-point shooter among the NBA’s most voluminous jump shooters.

Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest:

Generally, I believe the key to shooting efficiently is not expanding an arsenal of shots. Rather, it’s paring down the range of shots to only a player’s best.

Practically every shot comes with an opportunity costs. Will Aldridge’s 3-point attempts replace his shots in the paint (56.8 percent last season), Wesley Matthews’ 3-pointers (39.8 percent last season) or any other high-quality Portland attempt? If so, Aldridge’s new skill could very well hurt his team.

That said, Aldridge taking more 3s rather than long 2s could be helpful. In addition to netting an extra point per make, 3-pointers space the floor a little better.

Judging Aldridge by his 3-point percentage, unless it’s near or above the league average this season, alone won’t determine the success of this experiment. Whether he’s taking the appropriate number of attempts will be paramount in determining if Aldridge’s 3s actually help Portland.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)