LaMarcus Aldridge returned to the Trail Blazers two days after saying he was going to have thumb surgery and had 26 points and nine rebounds in a Portland's 103-96 victory over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.
The expectations have been raised, perhaps higher than they've been in a decade. The roster has been bolstered, with the additions of aging superstar Paul Pierce and blue-collar power forward DeJuan Blair. Are the Washington Wizards for real, or was last season just a nasty tease for the team's long-suffering fans?
Marcin Gortat knew he wasn't going to be in Phoenix long the moment the rebuilding Suns drafted former Maryland center Alex Len fifth overall in June, but that didn't make any less startling the news he had been traded to the Washington Wizards.
His return was somewhat unexpected and his contributions were greatly accepted, but after making his season debut Wednesday night, Nene was dejected. All season, the Washington Wizards big man had to be the one to console his distressed teammates after disappointing losses, providing encouraging words to keep them motivated.
Shirtless, John Wall crouched and dribbled a basketball above his head with his right hand and another low to the ground with his left hand. Unable to keep the routine together as he reached half-court, Wall grunted as he lost control, started over, and tried the exercise once again.
What was supposed to be a rousing sendoff for the U.S. team playing its last game on American soil before continuing its pre-Olympic tour later this week in England, turned into an embarrassing first quarter that saw Brazil take a 10-point lead amid an assortment of missed dunks, errant jump shots and porous defense by their more famous counterparts.