Dwight Jaynes happy to take credit for LA's play
ATLANTA – LaMarcus Aldridge returned to the Portland Trail Blazers’ starting lineup Thursday night against the Atlanta Hawks in midseason form after sitting out the team’s last seven games with a back contusion.
The All-Star power forward registered 25 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal in 32 minutes to lead the Trail Blazers to a 100-85 win, breaking a three-game losing skid.
He was nowhere near 100 percent, but you couldn’t tell. With his team facing the possibility of collapsing out of the Top-8 in the Western Conference standings, Aldridge didn’t need any further motivation to get back out there to help right the ship.
However, extra motivation was what he got when a close friend informed him about an article written by a journalist near and dear to our site.
“Somebody told me what, what’s his name?” Aldridge asked. “ Dwight?”
I threw out Jaynes.
“Yeah, Dwight Jaynes said me coming back won’t mean anything. So I was kind of motivated by his little article that he put out. So I was locked in. I was ready to do anything tonight.”
In the article Aldridge took exception to, Jaynes’ take was that teams don’t need to double-team a player who relies heavily on shooting turnaround jumpers and he makes the case that teams haven’t doubled him much the second half of the season.
“I heard he said I was going to come back shooting fadeaways and not really help us,” Aldridge said to CSNNW.com. “So I just wanted to try to be more dominant down low. Sometimes when a person calls you out, they can only help you out. So I thank him.”
A three-time All-Star, eight-year vet still gets stirred up by the doubters. Whether or not Jaynes intended for his article to be a knock on Aldridge’s skillset is irrelevant because that’s how he took it. Aldridge does tend to take things personal but that’s what made him the player he is today.
He’ll use anything for extra motivation to get him fired up. Jaynes just so happened to be the one to lay down the wood along side the gasoline.
“It definitely fueled me tonight,” he said. “I feel like I bring more than fadeaway jumpshots to the team. Just like Kanye West said, everything I’m not makes me everything I am. So when I make a fadeway jumpshot to win the game, nobody is talking about that. But when I miss two or three, then everybody is calling me a guy that fades away from the basket. So it’s give and take.”
We tried to reach out to Jaynes for a comment but he said he was too busy trying to figure out how to motivate Aldridge for the next game.
Aldridge says he will see how he feels in the morning before determining if he plays Friday night against the Chicago Bulls.