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Watch LaMarcus Aldridge drop 44 on Denver (VIDEO)

Jan 24, 2014, 1:10 PM EDT

LaMarcus Aldridge was good in the first half Thursday night, scoring 14 points but needing 14 shots to get there. So at the half Denver coach Brian Shaw decided not to make any changes, leaving J.J. Hickson (primarily) on an island with Aldridge.

That strategy backfired. In the second half Aldridge dropped 30 points on 15 shots, getting to the free throw line for 14-of-17 and killing the Nuggets at the rim (7-of-10 in the restricted area) and the midrange (8-of-16). He finished with a career high 44 points, not-so-coincidentally on a night he was not selected as a starter for the NBA All-Star Game.

I’m in the group that thinks Aldridge is the best four in the game right now, I give him a slim lead over Kevin Love because of his defense. But he plays in Portland and didn’t win the fan-vote popularity contest. He will be an All-Star, the coaches will vote him in for sure.

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