LA Going Home at Just the Right Time
LaMarcus Aldridge has appeared in three games following time off to nurse a sore groin and he’s looked a little rusty in all of them. In games against Denver, Los Angeles and Atlanta, the three-time All Star is averaging just 15.7 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting a paltry 36 percent from the field. Wednesday’s 1-13 performance was the worst shooting night of the season for Aldridge as he wasn’t hitting any of his patented fade-aways or 18-footers.
Not playing high-level basketball for nearly two weeks will do that to you and LA admits it’s mostly ‘timing’ that he needs to get back.
“Since coming back, I haven’t felt my timing has been great. Tonight, I was trying to find it in the minutes I was out there,” said Aldridge. “(The Hawks) were double-teaming some and digging a lot. I was trying to force the issue, but I never found my rhythm. I’ll find it (Thursday) at practice.”
Practice is a good place to start, but it also doesn’t hurt that the first game on Portland’s five-game road trip is in Aldridge’s hometown: Dallas. LA always seems to play well there and in the team’s last trip to Dallas, Aldridge posted 30 points and 12 rebounds on 61 percent shooting. He also hit a game-winner there a couple of years ago if you recall.
Digging a little deeper into the numbers reveals that for his career, Aldridge averages more points per game (21.9) against Dallas than any other opponent in the Western Conference. The 52 percent shooting isn’t bad either.
The most important game of a long road trip is the first one. It can make or break a team’s confidence and performance. Dallas has dropped three straight games as they fight to claim one of the last three playoff spots so the Blazers can expect their best effort on Friday. If Aldridge is going to discover his rhythm again, Dallas is the perfect place to do it.
Fans Get to Help Redesign the Blazers’ Court
In November of last year, it was announced that the Trail Blazers organization was going to replace the court at the Moda Center following the 2013-14 season and that there was serious discussion about changing the look of the court as well.
Well it’s official, they are indeed changing the design of the court. But they need a little feedback from fans before that happens. Actually, they need more than feedback.
On Tuesday, the organization announced a contest which allows fans to “Create The Court.” This isn’t some silly, gimmicky online thing either, it’s the real deal.
From the press release:
The team has joined forces with lead partner Moda Health to launch the Create the Court contest. Beginning today, fans can visit trailblazers.com/CreateTheCourt and choose from a variety of options to create and submit their design. Among the customizable options: word-marks, color schemes, patterns and tones. In all, there are 184,320 possible combinations all within the NBA guidelines.
“This will be one of the most visible changes we’ve made to our arena in over a decade, so it’s important that we involve our fans in the decision-making process,” said Chris McGowan, President & CEO of the Trail Blazers and Moda Center. “Conducting the contest on trailblazers.com and enlisting the help of Rip City is going to be a lot of fun and I am excited to start seeing the submissions.”
The graphics on the Trail Blazers’ current court have been slightly modified over time, but this will be the first time an entirely new court will be installed since the 2002-03 season.
The design process is fairly straight-forward (and easy for people like me). There are six parts to the court to design — the boards, the baseline, baseline text, center court, the key and the lines.
Each section can be customized with various designs, colors and logos. The color schemes included the obvious team colors: red, white and black, as well as silver and orange. The word-marks that can be used are “Portland,” “Trail Blazers,” and “Rip City.”
Personally, I went with a design that feels both new and old-school. I made the baseline court white like the old days at the Memorial Coliseum and I threw in black for the key lines and red for all other lines. “Rip City” is featured behind each basket and the center-court baseline at the bottom feature “Trail Blazers.”
Fans have until March 16 to submit their designs. After that, the team will announced three finalists which fans can vote for. The most-voted design will be installed for next season and the winner will receive court-side seats to the 2014-15 home opener.