"We thought we got to get him going, so why not throw him in the starting line-up," Steve Nash said postgame referring to his decision to start LaMarcus Aldridge in his team debut. "See if he can get his rhythm."
The veteran big man, who was signed by the Nets after agreeing to a buyout with the San Antonio Spurs just after the mid-season trade deadline, did more than just that.
He did a little bit of everything from knocking down his trademark mid-range fadeaway, showcasing his range with his long-range shooting, deflections on the defensive end, and making plays for his teammates.
First field goal as a net is 𝓅𝓊𝓇𝑒@aldridge_12 | #BrooklynTogether pic.twitter.com/cHWAcxrJCu- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) April 2, 2021
VINTAGE 🔵🔴 @aldridge_12 pic.twitter.com/WW2895yuo1- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) April 2, 2021
At halftime, the Nets led 68-48 with Aldridge having dished out five assists - his career-high for a half. In fact, in 17 first-half minutes, he had recorded a game-high plus-minus of +16.
LaMarcus gets the swat- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) April 2, 2021
Kyrie on the break
Bruce with the finish
INSTANT OFFENSE pic.twitter.com/V63zx8Osee
The seven-time All-Star finished the game with 11 points, nine rebounds, six assists (season-high), two steals, and a block in 30 minutes of playing time. As the closest defender inside the arc, he held the opponents to just 2-of-11 shooting from the field.
A commendable performance, to say the least, considering that he had last played a game on March 1 for the Spurs.
"He's always been a threat down there in the post," Kyrie Irving (15 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, two blocks) said of Aldridge postgame. "So when we are throwing it down to him and teams are switching, it gives us great opportunity to swing the basketball but also go through LA which slows the game down tremendously."
His play along with five other double-digit scorers helped the team, that suited up without Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Blake Griffin, to record a wire-to-wire 111-89 win over the fourth-seeded Charlotte Hornets, who trailed by as many as 32 at one point.
"Felt good," Aldridge said of his debut postgame. "Just trying to take my time and let things come to me. So, it was easy for me. I had fun tonight, for sure."
"Just because [you] haven't seen me on TV or on the stat sheet, I wasn't just sitting on my couch"- Nets Videos (@SNYNets) April 2, 2021
LaMarcus Aldridge talks about how he's stayed ready and how that prepared him to play his first game in over a month pic.twitter.com/TwJ7Pv3FxT
His addition makes the Nets even scarier. Brooklyn has now won 20 of their last 23 games with their 'Big 3' only having played seven games together for the season.
To add that, their defence - which was near the bottom five in the league for a long period of time since Harden's acquisition in mid-January, is ranked 15th in games since the All-Star break.
With the additions of veteran big men in Aldridge and Griffin - both of whom have the capability of affecting the game in multiple ways - the Nets have gone from just a top-heavy team to an extremely deep team that has the potential to play in different ways.
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