For the first time in his six-year career, Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge returns home an All-Star. Many, including Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, couldn't believe the 6-foot-11 forward didn't make the squad a year ago.
This time around, the Western Conference coaches who pick the seven reserves were not going to allow the former Seagoville and University of Texas star to be snubbed again.
Aldridge, averaging 23.0 points on 51.1 percent shooting and 8.3 rebounds, had to let Thursday night's announcement sink in before fully believing it.
"When it first happened, I kind of didn't believe it," Aldridge told reporters upon learning of his selection. "It was kind of surreal."
Aldridge and the Blazers are a popular pick to contend for the West title, but prior to coming from behind Friday to win at New Orleans, they had lost four of six and are just 11-9 against conference foes. On top of that, they've been abysmal on the road.
They'll be jacked for this first meeting since 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and the defending champion Mavs knocked the Blazers, despite their incredible Game 4 comeback at the Rose Garden, out of the first round in six games.
Records: Trail Blazers (15-12); Mavs (16-11)
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: American Airlines Center
Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM; 1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch:The Mavs have dropped two in a row at home and are 9-5 at the AAC. The Blazers won their first road game since Jan. 20 on Friday night at New Orleans and are just 4-9 on the road. Do the Mavs continue to start games hot and put Portland, which has dropped road games at Sacramento, Detroit and Phoenix, in a quick hole?
Key matchup: Jamaal Crawford vs. Jason Terry
These two former sixth men of the year would like to think they've still got it in them. Both are the second-leading scorers on their respective teams and can both can still light it up from the perimeter on any given night. Crawford did just that on Friday night at New Orleans, pouring in a game-high 31 points to become the first Blazers bench player to score more than 26 points in a game since the 1985-86 season. Terry has not shot the ball lately (7-of-21 Friday night and 17-of-55 in his last four games) but he went off for 34 points on Jan. 29.
Injuries: Mavs - None. Blazers - C Greg Oden (left knee) is out.
Up next: Los Angeles Clippers at Mavs, 7:30 p.m., Monday