LaMarcus Aldridge Delivers Down Stretch as Brooklyn Nets Beat Philadelphia 76ers

The Brooklyn Nets are still figuring out the best ways to make the most of a deep group of frontcourt options. In Friday night’s 114-109 win in Philadelphia, Steve Nash rolled with LaMarcus Aldridge down the stretch and the veteran delivered on both ends of the floor.

Aldridge finished with 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting to go with five rebounds and two blocks. The Nets were plus-21 in his 23 minutes on the floor.

“Well obviously he shot the ball well,” said Nash before stealing a glance at the stat sheet. “Very well. He’s also just a smart defender. He knows the game plan and has a good feel. I thought he impacted the game at both ends of the floor. Proud of his performance.”

The Nets fell into a 14-point hole early and saw the Sixers answer their runs — until the back half of the fourth quarter. Still trailing by 10 points, the Nets closed the game on a 16-1 run over the final 5:16, ultimately limiting Philadelphia to 18 points on 6-of-23 shooting in the fourth quarter.

Aldridge had nine of Brooklyn’s points in the 13-0 run that gave the Nets the lead, starting with the short jumper that launched the run, then dunking off a James Harden feed to tie the game, drawing a foul, and adding the free throw to put Brooklyn ahead, 109-108, with 48.2 seconds to go.

Aldridge had four finishes at the rim, but also shot 6-for-7 on mid-range jumpers, hanging back on pick-and-pops with Harden. Playing nine minutes in the fourth quarter, he shot 5-for-5 and scored 13 points.

“It just came naturally,” said Aldridge. “I’d be lying if I said I felt like I was gonna do what I did. We talked pregame about my pick and popping so we definitely had that in the bag and then James found me late for the and-1. It was just trying to use the guys that were out there. I thought we all just started to play basketball, just make reads basically.”

Aldridge is making his return to the NBA after abruptly retiring last April due to an irregular heartbeat after playing five games for Brooklyn.

“He's a force down there,” said Kevin Durant. “He knows how to play. His IQ is high. His game is simple and basic. That's what I enjoy the most: guys that can just do things quick, catch-and-shoot, turn around jump shots. That's his game, and he can finish at the rim. He's just smart player. So we just need to build off of this. You know, LaMarcus is gonna build off of this, and we go from there.”