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Trail Blazers commentators really mad about Scott Brooks benching LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard

Feb 17, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

Damian Lillard, Beno Udrih, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kenyon Martin

In the 2012 All-Star Game, LaMarcus Aldridge played fewer than 10 minutes, and he clearly wasn’t pleased with such a reduced role.

Ben Golliver of Blazer’s Edge:

After the game, Aldridge addressed a small group of reporters in the Mixed Zone media area, saying that he was as surprised about his playing time as everyone else. He said multiple times that he “definitely” expected more run.

“8 minutes? 9 minutes? I definitely did… I thought I was going to play more. It’s fine though. I had fun.”

And why should he have been satisfied with so few minutes? Aldridge is an excellent player who’s used to playing more. Of course, all his teammates fit in the same boat, so most of them probably felt that way.

But that doesn’t wipe out Aldridge’s license to want more playing time.

To his credit, though, Aldridge didn’t overblow his dismay. Aldridge, via Golliver:

“It’s cool,” he said. “First All-Star Game. Have the first one behind me. It was an eventful weekend, and now it’s over.”

He said he does not view the playing time he received as a snub on the level of being overlooked for selection to the 2011 All-Star Game.

“I could look at it like that, but I’m not… I had fun talking with the guys and being with the guys. It’s always going to be something. I think with my luck, it’s always something. I’m not going to trip on that. I’m going to go back and try to win games.”

Back in the All-Star Game this season – with the Thunder’s Scott Brooks coaching again, as he did in 2012 – Aldridge played just 13:17. His Trail Blazers teammate, Damian Lillard, saw the court for just 8:44 – even fewer minutes than Aldridge got two years ago.

This time, the complaints coming from Portland aren’t so tempered.

Trail Blazers color commentators Mike Rice Sr. (television) and Antonio Harvey (radio) had harsh words for Brooks (hat tip: Golliver).



It’s important to remember Rice and Harvey don’t speak for Aldridge and Lillard, both of whom said they accepted their roles.

Aldridge, via Mike Tokito of The Oregonian:

“I definitely had my opportunity to score,” Aldridge said. “Didn’t make any shots, but I think I played more minutes – what’d I play tonight, 14 minutes? —  I think that’s an All-Star Game high for me. It was fun. The whole weekend was fun. I had fun with the activities and the things for the fans.”

Lillard, via Tokito:

“You’ve got guys that are producing at the same level that I am for my team, but they’ve been here five times already, so they’re going to be on the floor,” Lillard said. “That’s a respect thing. If I’m ever a five-time All-Star, four-time All-Star, and a first-time All-Star came in and played more minutes than me, or finishing the game over me, I’m not going to like that. So I respect it.”

Rice and Harvey are so closely affiliated with the Trail Blazers that their tweets carry weight, and both commentators overreacted. Every single All-Star played fewer minutes Sunday than his season per-game average. Some had to accept greater reductions than others, but everyone took at least some cut. Rice and Harvey would do well to consider that and the fact that Durant and most of the other minutes leaders are better than Aldridge and Lillard. Rice and Harvey just look petty.

Aldridge and Lillard, especially by comparison, look gracious.

Maybe the Trail Blazers – or just Rice and Harvey – are deliberately trying to stir up a rivalry with the Thunder in advance of a possible playoff series. If so, kudos. I’d honestly be more intrigued in that series if Aldridge and Lillard were seeking revenge on Brooks.

But even that bonus would be based on the misguided belief Brooks did something wrong.

Besides, there’s no indication Aldridge and Lillard share Rice’s and Harvey’s anger, anyway.

  1. timb12 - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    A lot of people didn’t play much. Anthony Davis got snubbed on playing time if you ask me, but are they even that good? Aldridge didn’t seem like his game fit for the all star game and there was the whole myth that Lillard would be tired because he did all the events. And of course KD is going to get a lot of minutes, he’s the best player on the west.

    • kb2408 - Feb 17, 2014 at 6:05 PM

      KD is the best player in the West, East, North and South.

  2. 00maltliquor - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    I’m going to have to put out the unpopular comment and say; it’s an All-Star game, who wants to see boring Aldrige when you got Blake Griffin beasting out! Maybe if he wasn’t so scared to play C (like when they had 6″9 JJ Hickson, they played him at C instrad of Aldridge maning up with his 6″11/250+ frame) you would have had more opportunity.

  3. pukpokito - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    If your the blazers you have to be happy.Your players were there and they weren’t overused like durant and it felt like light practice which bodes well for them not being tired with their rested teammates at portland to start the 2nd half of the season.Let it go.It’s ok.Lilliard was already working it saturday.this sunday 9 minutes could be a good thing.

    • money2long - Feb 17, 2014 at 4:34 PM

      people tell kids to play 60 minutes a day. ive never understood this idea of getting tired from all star games. it’s less than 48 minutes. and if that’s the only form of exercise you do all day, what’s the big deal about worrying about exhaustion ?

      • pukpokito - Feb 17, 2014 at 7:15 PM

        You don’t have to understand. It doesn’t matter.

      • 00maltliquor - Feb 18, 2014 at 2:33 AM

        I know! I would play at the sports park for 3-5 hours a day for 3-5 days out the week up into my early 20’s. Most of the time my teams didn’t lose so I’d be out there running up and down playing my heart out for hours. I don’t it.

    • kb2408 - Feb 17, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      Nice little subtle KD jab…but if Westbrook is healthy come playoffs time, it won’t matter. KD and Westbrook are best combo in the league.

  4. casualcommenter - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    Lillard with the most mature response by far. It’s a respect thing and also a fan thing.

    “AllAreAllStars” is BS. Some are starters voted in by fans, some are reserves. Just like in real games, the starters are going to play more than the reserves. This game is basically a meaningless scrimmage to entertain fans. It makes sense that the All-Stars that were voted in by fans would play the most.

    • money2long - Feb 18, 2014 at 7:39 AM

      Who started this yr’s game (fan votes) that u think didn’t deserve to be an all star ??

  5. bballhistorian - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    I like Lillards comment in the end. It seems like he understands how it is!

    As for every other person mentioned here (Player and commentators), they don’t understand that the league has all-stars… then superstars. The superstars get the bulk of the time in the all star game. ..because thyy were voted in BY THE FANS. LAldridge and those commentators need to stop crying. Become a superstar first (usually acquired during playoff time) and you will be on the floor for more time.

    • broncobeta - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:12 PM

      “Become a superstar first (usually acquired during playoff time)”

      This is very true. You get respect by dominating in playoff games.

  6. mrlaloosh - Feb 17, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    Media crybabies? I don’t believe it! (Sarcasm).

  7. skids003 - Feb 17, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    Tell Rice that people would rather see Durant. Did that ever occur to him?

  8. genericcommenter - Feb 17, 2014 at 6:13 PM

    It was 2 years ago. Get over it.

  9. shadowgamesshades - Feb 17, 2014 at 9:50 PM

    Who cares about what Blazers announcers want? If they don’t like it, then don’t watch the ASG. It’s just for entertainment.

  10. jimsjam33 - Feb 17, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    More Blake Griffin high flying dunks and less three pointers and layups !

  11. benjamintko - Feb 19, 2014 at 5:55 PM

    Sorry to say, I watched the game and Lillard STUNK. The few minute he came in, he looked to score on his deeep 3 balls… brick brick and few air balls. It was during Lillard’s play that the East caught back up. Sorry, Lillard is no CP3, not even close. I can’t be the only one who noticed how much west’s offense picked up the moment CP3 checked in.

    Overall great game, East finally won, thx to Lillard. Had Lillard gotten CP3 minutes, I’m sure East would’ve blown out the west.

    • benjamintko - Feb 19, 2014 at 5:57 PM

      Lillard came in looking to get points under his name. CP3 came in to do what he does best, win and make plays.

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