DALLAS – Sometimes all you can do is give credit to the other guy.
That was the case for big man Brendan Haywood after Portland’s All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge hit an overtime buzzer-beater to beat the Dallas Mavericks in front of an American Airlines Center sellout crowd that included several of the Seagoville product's friends and family members.
“You make a 6-11 guy take a one-dribble pull-up shot. He hit it,” said Haywood, whose lateral movement is still affected by the sprained right knee that caused him to miss seven games and requires him to wear a bulky brace. “Tip your hat and get ready for the next game tomorrow.”
With 3.7 seconds remaining, Aldridge caught the ball outside the 3-point arc on the left side of the floor, took one hard dribble to his right to get to the elbow and launched a 17-foot stepback that swished through the net, framed by the red light of the backboard.
“It was so fast, they couldn’t scheme me on that,” said Aldridge, who finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds. “I just popped to the ball, got to my spot and shot it real quick.”
It was an All-Star moment for Aldridge. Although point guard Raymond Felton played his best game in a Portland uniform, scoring a season-high 30 points, there was never any question about who the Trail Blazers were going to go to with the game on the line.
“We’re going to LaMarcus,” Trail Blazers coach Kaleb Canales said. “LaMarcus hit a big shot. Big-time player, big-time shot.”
Nothing the Mavs’ big man could do about it.