Aldridge has 44 points following All-Star ‘snub’

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Sure, LaMarcus Aldridge was bummed he wasn’t named an All-Star starter. But he wasn’t nearly as upset as his teammates.

Or his mom.

“I think everybody around me was more upset than me,” he said. “I came in tonight and Nico (teammate Nicolas Batum) was pretty fired up about it. And my mom was pretty heated about it.

“I think I definitely should have been a starter, but it’s over now.”

Aldridge let his game answer any skeptics Thursday night when he scored a career-high 44 points in Portland’s 110-105 come-from-behind victory over the Denver Nuggets. He scored the final 15 points of the game, prompting chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!” from the Portland fans.

His scoring outburst came just a few hours after the All-Star starters, based on fan voting, were announced. Aldridge came in fifth place in the West: The starting frontcourt includes Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, the Clippers’ Blake Griffin and Minnesota’s Kevin Love.

Aldridge is already a two-time All-Star, having been selected the past two seasons as a reserve by the conference’s coaches. The reserves for this season’s game, set for Feb. 16 in New Orleans, will be announced on Jan. 30.

Wesley Matthews was among Aldridge’s teammates who were miffed he didn’t get recognized as a starter.

“His play speaks for itself and our record speaks on behalf of his play,” Matthews said.

Mo Williams added: “He’s without a doubt the best power forward in the league.”

Even Blazers owner Paul Allen, who also owns the Super Bowl-bound Seattle Seahawks, weighed in on his 6-foot-11 forward.

“If you watch him out there, he’s so engaged in the games,” Allen said. “He’s taken on more of a leadership role. I think it’s evident in all aspects of his game.”

Aldridge is having a career season to drive the surprising Trail Blazers, who missed the playoffs last year but have gone 32-11 so far this season, good for third place overall in the conference behind the Thunder and the Spurs. The Blazers are one win away from their total for all of last season.

Aldridge is averaging 24.7 points and 11.6 rebounds. He has scored at least 25 points in six straight games, and he has at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in seven straight, tying him with Love for an NBA season high.

The seven-game streak also matches Portland’s franchise record, hit three times by Sidney Wicks.

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