Our first reaction in the wake of Portland 105, Miami 96 is to rail on the Heat for their five-game losing streak and all that talk that has surrounded it. And NBA TV’s Chris Webber did a fine job of just that.
But the Heat didn’t beat themselves on Tuesday. The Blazers took it to them.
Portland has won 11 of its last 14 games and despite all its injury woes this season, is somehow tied with the Denver Nuggets for fifth place in the Western Conference. Tuesday’s win was huge, because the Blazers have a rough schedule the rest of the way, with 13 of their final 18 games against teams with winning records.
In the absence of Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge has carried much of the load offensively for Portland, averaging 22.4 points per game on 49.8 percent shooting. Before Tuesday’s game LeBron James called Aldridge the “biggest snub in All-Star history.”
That may be a bit of an overstatement, but Aldridge certainly got snubbed. And his improvement this season isn’t just about carrying a bigger load. He’s actually become a different kind of offensive player.
In the past, Aldridge has been a jump-shooting big, Mr. Pick-and-Pop. But this season, he’s doing a lot more of his work near the basket, as NBA.com StatsCube makes it clear…
LaMarcus Aldridge, percentage of shots attempted from distance, last two seasons
|Season||0-5 feet||5-9 feet||10-14 feet||15-19 feet||20+ feet|