Next to New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge will be the best player the Dallas Mavericks have faced thus far this season.
A 2004 graduate of Seagoville High School, Aldridge has been so steady with his all-around game that he has played in three straight All-Star games.
“He’s a great player — flat-out,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s murder on the block posting up, and he’s a great mid-range shooter at over 7-feet. A very tough guy to deal with.”
The Mavs will deal with Aldridge and company at 9:30 Thursday night when they battle the Trail Blazers in Portland. The game will be televised nationally on TNT.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Star-Telegram
“Aldridge is one of the best [power forwards] in the league, so we’ve got to do a great job of just trying to slow him down,” center Tyson Chandler said. “He’s very explosive, he understands the game.
“He doesn’t force a lot [of shots]. Although he hits a lot of big shots — he takes a lot of shots — he’s not forcing a lot. He’s being very creative out there.”
After winning three straight, the Mavs (3-1) hope to short-circuit some of Aldridge’s creativity. But they realize it’s going to be a difficult task.
“I love his game,” Chandler said. “I think he’s one of the best in the game, to be honest.”
Better third quarters
A day after being outscored by the Boston Celtics 38-24 in the third quarter, the Mavs went back to work Tuesday and tried to figure out why they’re having so many problems in the third period.
In addition to the Celtics, the Pelicans outscored the Mavs 37-20 in the third quarter Saturday. Before that, the Jazz had a 29-24 advantage over the Mavs in the third period Thursday, and the Spurs opened the season by outscoring the Mavs 31-20 in the third quarter.
So what can the Mavs do to stop this embarrassing trend?
“You just got to focus on it, concentrate on it and get better with it,” Carlisle said after Tuesday’s practice at American Airlines Center. “I mean, the NBA season has a lot of challenges. We like [challenges], and this is one we’ve got to take on. Simple as that.”
Carlisle has no plans to tweak the starters he uses in the third quarter. For now, he’s going to stand pat and hope his regulars can reverse a disturbing development.
“I believe in the guys we have,” Carlisle said. “I believe in the guys we have starting and I like the team. I’m all-in with this team.”
Forward Al-Farouq Aminu went through the entire practice Tuesday — a day after banging his left knee in the second quarter of Monday’s 118-113 win over the Celtics.
“He seems to be doing much better, so we’re relieved it wasn’t anything serious,” Carlisle said. “Not having Aminu in the second half hurt us a little.”
The Mavericks are donating tickets for every home game to local DFW organizations as part of the team’s Community Ticket Block Program.
Organizations wishing to participate must submit a request form to be eligible for drawings throughout the season. For more information, visit www.mavs.com/community.