Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers

Thursday night NBA grades: Night of the power forward

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Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while wondering what NBA players could play in the NFL

Only power forwards make the list tonight.

source:  LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers. He’s the best power forward in the game right now. Better than Kevin Love (Aldridge is a better and more interested defender), better than Blake Griffin. I hate to agree with Reggie Miller about anything, but he’s right here. Aldridge dropped 44 points on the Nuggets Thursday — including the last 15 for Portland in the fourth quarter — plus he had 13 rebounds. He did it knocking down the midrange shots Denver gave him, knocking down 8-of-16 from there. He was also 7-of-10 in the restricted area. He can play inside and out, and he had some key blocks as well in this game.

source:  Chris Bosh, Miami Heat. For all of you who said, “Chris Bosh doesn’t deserve to be an All-Star” today, he had an answer for you. Bosh outplayed Pau Gasol on his way to 31 points on 15-of-22 shooting, scoring both at the rim and at the arc. Bosh was in a groove, he looked fluid, and we don’t see that every night from him but when we do it’s impressive.

source:  Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers. Pau Gasol has been playing well of late (which is boosting his trade value, if you think the Lakers can find someone to take on his $19.3 million contract) and that continued against the Heat — 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting, plus 11 rebounds. Defensively he struggled chasing Bosh around all night, but Gasol looked like the kind of player that could help some playoff bound team. And that is not the Lakers.

Dwight Howard commits ridiculously sloppy inbound violation (video)

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An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.

Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.

But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.

The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.

DeAndre Jordan dunks on Marcus Smart before Smart knows what’s happening (video)

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Marcus Smart went to tag DeAndre Jordan on the pick-and-roll, and Jordan took off from so far from the basket, he was dunking on Smart before the Celtics guard could do a thing.

Chris Paul finds brilliant counter to hack-a-DeAndre Jordan (video)

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I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.

But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.

Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.

The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.

Just an awesome heady play by Paul.