Kerr has selected Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge to get the start on Sunday night.
That’s a huge coup for Aldridge, a guy who struggled to get recognized despite years of fantastic play up in Portland. Portland was going to build around Aldridge and Brandon Roy until Roy’s knees gave out, but now it is Aldridge and Damian Lillard.
Through it all Aldridge has been as good and consistent a power forward as the league has seen. This year is fourth straight All-Star Game. (Check back later in the week at PBT for our exclusive interview with Aldridge.)
West coach Steve Kerr had three starters to replace — Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin and Davis were all voted in by the fans but can’t play due to injury. Commissioner Adam Silver picked the roster replacements, but Kerr gets to choose the starters.
James Harden and Klay Thompson were chosen to replace Kobe and Griffin, but it took a while for the decision to be made on replacing Davis. Aldridge may be a better fit in terms of balance; now the West has three guards (Stephen Curry, Thompson, and Harden) balanced by two big men, Aldridge and Marc Gasol. Then again, it’s an exhibition, so the balance isn’t that important.
Kerr just went with a very deserving guy.
Has 2015 set record for All-Star injury replacements?
The NBA commissioner has named four injury replacements – DeMarcus Cousins for Kobe Bryant, Damian Lillard for Blake Griffin, Kyle Korver for Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki for Anthony Davis. So, instead of 24 All-Stars, we have 28.
Is that a record for injury replacements? Not quite.
But it sets a record for starters replaced with Kobe, Griffin and Davis having been voted Western Conference starters.
Both 2007 and 1997 featured five injury replacements, and 2010 and 2001 each had four. No other year had more than two.
Joe Johnson replaced Jason Kidd
Josh Howard replaced Carlos Boozer
Ray Allen replaced Allen Iverson
Carmelo Anthony replaced Yao Ming*
Mehmet Okur replaced Steve Nash
Chris Webber replaced Patrick Ewing*
Joe Dumars replaced Alonzo Mourning
Detlef Schrempf replaced Charles Barkley*
Chris Gatling replaced Clyde Drexler
Kevin Garnett replaced Shaquille O’Neal
David Lee replaced Allen Iverson*
Jason Kidd replaced Kobe Bryant*
Chauncey Billups replaced Chris Paul
Chris Kaman replaced Brandon Roy
Latrell Sprewell replaced Grant Hill*
Dikembe Mutombo replaced Alonzo Mourning*
Antonio Davis replaced Theo Ratliff
Vlade Divac replaced Shaquille O’Neal*
*Voted a starter
It’s still possible, though unlikely,, 2015 matches the record for total injury replacements.
Steve Kerr has had a lot more decisions to make as the Western Conference All-Star Game coach. Usually this is a “roll the ball out there and let them play” kind of gig. But this year, with three fan-elected starters dropping out due to injury, Kerr has had to chose who moves into the starting rotation (the Commissioner chooses who gets the empty roster spot).
Duncan all but said a couple years ago he didn’t need the All-Star experience anymore, he’d done it enough. Last season the coaches took it easy on him and didn’t vote him in as an alternate, but this season he got in.
And apparently nobody loves that more than Kerr.
Five Things We Learned in NBA Wednesday: OKC reminds us the West playoffs will be bloodbath
If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while discussing what is wrong with action films today….
Oklahoma City routs Memphis, reminds us the Western Conference playoffs are wide open.Fox Sports’ Bill Reiter recently compared the coming WesternConfernce playoffs go Game of Thrones — a lot of worthy successors are going to be slaughtered. Consider what Oklahoma City did to Memphis Wednesday your reminder of that. This game was close until midway through the first quarter when the Grizzlies missed a few shots, which Oklahoma City turned into fast break points. Suddenly the tempo of the game changed, OKC went on a 20-2 run and when that was over so was the game. Memphis never threatened again. With that win the Thunder enter the All-Star break just half a game back of Phoenix and the eight seed in the West. The final playoff slot in the West (they are six games back of the seven-seed Spurs, the Thunder are not catching them.) Oklahoma City vs. Golden State in the first round of the playoffs seems likely. Again, a lot of worthy successors are going to be slaughtered out West.
Don’t look now, but Boston is in the playoff chase in the East. Sentences I never expected to type this season: Evan Turner beat the Hawks at the buzzer. But there you have it. Atlanta was about as focused as a high school senior the day before Spring break and credit Boston for taking advantage. With the win, Boston moves just two games back of Charlotte for that final playoff slot in the East (and the chance to lose to Atlanta in the first round). Boston would need to pass not only Charlotte (or seven-seed Miami), but also Brooklyn and Detroit to get into the postseason dance. Maybe it’s not likely, but stranger things have happened. For example, Evan Turner beat the Hawks at the buzzer.
Toronto is winning again, and DeMar DeRozan provided the dagger against Washington. Toronto started off the season hot, lost their way for a while due to injuries and the fact their defense just isn’t that great, but they have found their way again — Toronto has won 9-of-11. That includes three straight wins over playoff teams: The Spurs, Clippers and on Wednesday night the Wizards. This is the second Raptors’ win over the Wizards in the last two weeks, and although this second game was not pretty, rather a grind-it-out affair, the Raptors will take it. Toronto remains the two seed in the East and while Chicago lurks and Cleveland is charging up the standings, the Raptors are going to have home court in the first round. Which means a good chance to advance, because DeMar DeRozan can do this:
Shabazz Muhammad dunked so hard he hit his own face. Minnesota is a lot more entertaining to watch with Ricky Rubio back at the helm — they get out and run now. Which plays right into the game of now healthy Shabazz Muhammad, he likes to finish dunks. Sometimes so hard he dunks on himself (thanks to Zach Harper).
DeAndre Jordan is putting up video game numbers. The Clippers center has put up a 20-20 stat line in two straight games and three times in the last eight days. With Blake Griffin out following elbow surgery, the Clippers needed Jordan to step up a little, but nobody expected him to go NBA Jams on us. He was key to punishing the Dwight Howard-less Rockets inside and getting the Clippers a quality win at home Wednesday.