Fatigue a factor for LaMarcus Aldridge?

PORTLAND, Ore. – When Seagoville’s LaMarcus Aldridge got to get some home cooking during this series, he asked his mother, Georgia, to make spaghetti.

“I need all those carbs,” Aldridge said. “I’ve got to be ready to play 40 minutes.”

Aldridge, the Blazers’ blossoming star power forward/center, has actually played 43 minutes per game this series. That comes on the heels of averaging a career-high 39.6 minutes per game during the regular season.

Add it all up and Aldridge has played a league-leading 3,426 minutes this season, spending a lot of that time banging in the paint. The statistics seem to suggest that all those minutes have taken a toll on Aldridge.

His scoring numbers in this series have steadily dropped: 27, 24, 20, 18 and 12 points. Give the Mavs a lot of credit for that. Aldridge averaged 27.8 points per game against Dallas in the regular season, and it looked like that would be the norm again after he went for 27 on 12-of-20 shooting in Game 1. However, in the last four games, he’s been held to .428 shooting by the Mavs, who have the luxury of always putting a fresh 7-footer who is a good defender on Aldridge with Brendan Haywood backing up Tyson Chandler.

It can be argued that no player has a harder job in the playoffs than Aldridge, who became the Blazers’ go-to guy in December when Brandon Roy had operations on both knees. In addition to having the offense run through him, he'll also has to defend Dirk Nowitzki fairly often.

The fatigue is also evident in Aldridge’s dropoff in fourth quarters.

According to ESPN Stats and Information, Aldridge is averaging only 3.8 points per fourth quarter in this series, compared to 5.5 for every other quarter. His points in the paint per quarter drop from 2.9 to 0.8 in the final frame. His shooting percentage goes from .473 to .438.

That’s the continuation of a trend for Aldridge. In the last 20 games, his fourth-quarter numbers dipped to 4.3 points (1.9 in the paint) on .419 shooting.

If that trend doesn’t end, Aldridge will probably get a ton of time to rest soon.