This month’s edition of HOOP Magazine, the official magazine of the NBA, features Trail Blazers Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge on the cover with the headline: “What The Blazers: Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge have the Portland Trail Blazers on a championship path”. The article, written by Michael Bradley, chronicles Portland’s success this season and the part Aldridge and Lillard have played in the resurgence …
LaMarcus Aldridge didn’t have time to make the pass. He was in great position at the top of the key to drill the jumper. And, besides, Damian Lillard had already missed a layup. Why not make the most of Nicolas Batum’s offensive rebound and kick-out to pad the numbers? After all, Aldridge is The Man in Portland, a three-time All-Star who is gaining traction in the discussion for the best power forward in the NBA. When frontline talents get the ball in the big leagues, it goes up.
So, what did Aldridge do on a late January Thursday night game against visiting Denver? Fired a pass back through the lane to an open Lillard, who converted the reverse layup, of course. Aldridge may be an All-Star, but he’s a Trail Blazer first, and that means the extra pass is always a possibility. In fact, it’s a likely event.
And it’s smart to feed Lillard. Aldridge may be Portland’s leader off the court, but when the game begins, it’s the point guard’s team. And like Don Corleone, he isn’t one to forget a favor. The next time downcourt, Lillard reciprocated with a nifty behind-the-back bouncer. Aldridge missed the shot, but the message was quite clear. Portland is winning because of the selfless way it is playing, and Aldridge and Lillard, the Blazers’ two All-Stars, are setting an example of how to play team ball.
You can read the electronic version of the story here, while hard copies should be on newsstands now, assuming you know where your local newsstand is from picking up the recent edition of SLAM Magazine featuring Lillard on the cover.