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3 takeaways from LaMarcus Aldridge’s first start with Nets

Nets, Steve Nash, LaMarcus Aldridge

Blake Griffin started every game for the Brooklyn Nets with the exception of one contest to rest during a back-to-back set. But after only logging nine total minutes in Cleveland during the team’s 117-112 win, coach Steve Nash made the switch to LaMarcus Aldridge in the starting lineup.

The seven-time All-Star got the start against the Boston Celtics. And the Nets jumped all over the C’s, winning 123-104 and rewarding their coach for making a key adjustment.

With that said, here are our takeaways from LMA’s first start with Brooklyn.

3 Takeaways From LaMarcus Aldridge’s First Start

3. No more lack of energy and pace at the beginning of games

Nets fans know well that this Nets team can start off slowly. Coach Nash has joked that’s about what you expect from having so many veteran (read: old) players. But even though Aldridge does little to solve that (he’s 36, four years older than Griffin) Brooklyn as a team played faster with him out there.

“I think we came to play from the jump,” said Nash. “And we were really strong defensively. We for the most part rebounded we took care of the basketball. We moved. We got stops . We got out and played early like we keep talking about….Pace, quick decisions and I thought that set the stage and the first half was really solid. We came out obviously and had a great start to the second half and overall a great road win.”

That Nash loved the beginning of the first half and the beginning of the second half (read: the times Aldridge was out there with the starters) means we’ll probably see a lot more of LA with the starting group.

2. LaMarcus Aldridge’s defense allowed Nets to get out in transition

This point is a continuation of the last point. The defense was the key. It let them get out in transition and get easy buckets.

“I think it picked up our pace,” Nash said of Brooklyn’s defense. “LA’s not the fastest guy on the floor but we played with pace, we played with ideas, we weren’t stagnant, we moved the ball and I thought we defended well. Overall the spirit was really good.”

The Nets don’t have a ton of elite defenders, but they managed to hold the Celtics to 37.4 percent from the floor and just 23 percent from downtown. Jayson Tatum was just 4-of-16 and limiting the dude who dropped 50 on Brooklyn in the playoffs was crucial. Their other star Jaylen Brown wasn’t much better shooting just 5-of-15. Overall it was a huge win for the Nets’ team defense.

Just like the pace and the energy, the defense can’t be attributed solely to Aldridge who wasn’t covering Tatum one-on-one. But still, the team played one of the best games of the young season and LMA was out there for it.

1. LaAutomatic doesn’t miss much

Aldridge has started the season about as hot as Griffin has been cold. Aldridge came into the game knocking down a ridiculous 50 of 92 shots between 8 and 24 feet. That’s over 54 percent. Sometimes it seems as if the two former San Antonio Spurs players in Aldridge and Patty Mills just don’t miss shots. Mills continued his impossibly hot streak from downtown, hitting 7-of-10 3 balls in this one.

Aldridge was 7-of-13 himself for 17 points. He also chipped in nine boards, a dime, a block and a steal for a good all around game.

James Harden echoed some of what his head coach said.

“Our spirit, our energy was great,” added Harden. “We were all on the same page defensively, helped us offensively.”

Harden was told that Aldridge missed his first couple shots then got it going. The Beard couldn’t help but make a wise-crack.

“Yeah I know I was pissed! No, just playing,” joked The Beard. “One thing about him, I don’t never have to worry about him. You know make it or missed shot, he’s got over 20,000 points,” said Harden. “He gonna get going and once he gets going that just brings a different element to our game.”

What does Kevin Durant think LA brings to 3the starting unit?

“Somebody that can space, knock down a shot, just a big body that can rebound as well, protect the rim,” KD said, but he wanted to keep Griffin in mind as well.

“We gonna need all our bigs for the whole year no matter what. I know Blake wasn’t in there but we need him to stay ready if we want to be the team we want to be,” encouraged the unquestioned team leader, KD.

It’s hard to tell if Griffin is in Nash’s dog house for some reason. However, it’s something to monitor. But all in all, LA’s first start was a smashing success.