Author: Kurt Helin

LaMarcus Aldridge, Nene

LaMarcus Aldridge looks good with 26 points, 9 rebounds playing with bad thumb


That brace idea worked out pretty well.

LaMarcus Aldridge has a torn ligament in his thumb that will require surgery, but he has decided to put that off for now and try to play through it — and he played well Saturday night in the Trail Blazers finished with 26 points (on 9-of-22 shooting) and 9 rebounds on the night, including eight of those points in the fourth quarter when Portland went on an 11-0 run to take the lead and hold on to win over Washington.

He remained the focal point of the Blazers’ offense — he had 68 touches, only point guard Damian Lillard had more. Aldridge did struggle with his touch, shooting just 2-of-8 inside eight feet and hitting only 4-of-11 on uncontested shots (although the Wizards’ front line of Nene and Marcin Gortat had something to do with that). However he seemed to get more comfortable with the brace as the game went on and hit 6-of-6 from the free throw line in the fourth.

Portland needs Aldridge to hold on to their current three seed in the West. The Blazers are in a virtual tie for second with Memphis, but just four games separate them from the seven-seed Spurs (who are hot of late). There’s not much margin for error, and games like Saturday against a quality Washington squad are the kinds of wins the Blazers need to hold their ground.

Aldridge talked about his choice before the game Saturday.

Brandon Jennings leaves game in wheelchair, may have torn Achilles

Brandon Jennings

This is a punch to the gut of the Pistons.

Late in the third quarter of the Bucks win over the Pistons, Detroit’s Brandon Jennings was in the back court trying to pressure the inbounds pass when he takes a step and crumples to the ground clearly in a great deal of a pain. He had to use a wheelchair to get back to the locker rooms.

It is apparently a serious Achilles injury, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

There’s significant fear within the Detroit Pistons organization that guard Brandon Jennings sustained a torn Achilles’ tendon on Saturday night and could miss the rest of the season, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Jennings has averaged 15.4 points a game for the season, but in his last 15 games he has scored 20.1 points a game, shot 39.4 percent from three and the Pistons have gone 12-3 to get back in the Easter Conference playoff picture.

Jennings injury likely ends that dream. Stan Van Gundy will likely lean on D.J. Augustin and Jodie Meeks more, but they lack Jennings dynamic attack off the dribble.

Can we just get through the rest of this season without any more major NBA injuries, please?

James Harden hits step-back game winner to beat Suns (VIDEO)

James Harden, Isaiah Thomas

P.J.Tucker is a good defender and James Harden had him on skates.

That’s how good Harden is and why his sweet step-back jumper was the game winner as the Rockets beat the Suns Friday night, 113-111. Yes, Harden played to his tendencies on that shot, but I’m not sure how you defend that.

Harden finished the night with 33 points and 10 assists. I don’t care if Klay Thompson makes the All-Star team and Steve Kerr is the coach, Harden should be the starter next to Stephen Curry. Harden has earned it.

Kobe Bryant will be back next season, he can’t resist the challenge

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets

The one defining trait of Kobe Bryant’s 19 NBA seasons is the reason there will be a 20th:

Put an obstacle in front of the man and he feels he has to overcome it.

That latest obstacle is the torn rotator cuff that likely has ended his season (nothing will be official until Monday). Despite the mythology around him, Kobe is a human being and in recent interviews he has been questioning himself and how far he can go. Right now he has to be thinking, Achilles“Do I want to go through all the work to come back? For what, this lottery-bound team next season?”

But he will be back.

In part because there are $25 million reason for him to be back. I don’t care how rich you already are, you don’t leave that much cash on the table.

However, it’s more than that for Kobe. It’s about proving himself one more time. At age 36 he came back from an Achilles surgery to be one of the top scorers in the NBA. Now proving that he can come back from an injury that have some writing him off is the next hurdle he cannot help but want to clear. Kobe’s self belief exceeds any other NBA player, it’s at the core of what made him special. He will not relent. While his body is asking questions, that answer has not changed.

Plus, he knows he can help the Lakers win.

After he passed Michael Jordan on the scoring list, after Kobe took a few games off to rest his aches, he came back much more the facilitator, playing much more within the system. He was the kind of guy free agents look at and want to play with.

Kobe will recruit this summer then come back. Byron Scott should not make him the fulcrum of the offense anymore, Kobe should play 25 minutes a night tops, get his points and savor his farewell tour. Maybe hit a game winner or two. It may not be the peak Kobe we remember, but it will be interesting.

And we will see him for another year. At least.

Klay Thompson sets NBA record with 37 point quarter (VIDEO)

Sacramento Kings v Golden State Warriors

Somebody is making their All-Star case loud and clear.

Golden State’s Klay Thompson scored 37 points in the third quarter to set an NBA record for most points in a quarter. He had nine three pointers in the third quarter, that was also an NBA record. He was 13-of-13 on the quarter and you knew after a couple heat-check shots fell he was going to do something amazing. Check out this shot chart.


So tell me again how there is no hot hand in the NBA…..

The record had been 33 points in a quarter, a tie between Carmelo Anthony and George “the Ice Man” Gervin.

Thompson — a bubble All-Star guard in the West battling a number of other quality players for a spot — finished with 52 points on the night. If that shooting performance doesn’t make your case I don’t know what will. It also makes a case for Klay Thompson as one of the biggest emerging stars in the NBA period.