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You know the old adage that nothing good comes easy? Well, LaMarcus Aldridge is hoping it's true.
When the all-star forward made the jump from Portland to San Antonio last summer, he went expecting to to vie for a championship alongside Gregg Popovich, Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan. And while he'll have that chance this spring, the process of finding his place in San Antonio hasn't always been an easy one.
"You've known one thing so long, it's just tough," Aldridge said.
That the power forward is averaging 16.9 points per game this season his lowest since his rookie campaign is an indication of how his role has had to change.
"I've had to be not as aggressive at times," he said, "learning how to fit into the system and not have the ball in my hands all the time and just learning how to play off guys more."
Aldridge, however, seems to have found his footing and is coming off his fifth straight all-star selection.
"He took his time learning the system, figuring out where he could be aggressive at," Leonard, the team's leading scorer, said. "As you can see now, he's playing great. It feels like head a better rhythm and understand's Coach Pop's strategy."
In fact, Aldridge has seen his scoring numbers rise significantly this month. He averaged 15.9 points per game in November and December, 16.7 points in January. In February, he's put up 22 points a game on 55 percent shooting.
"I've been a guy that's had the ball in my hands for the last seven years," he said. "I've had touches all the time. It's definitely been tough, but I've gotten better at it."
Six-pack of problems
The Jazz escaped with a thrilling 117-114 overtime victory agains the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, and they did it without much help from the referees.
According to the league's review of the final two minutes of regulation and overtime, the officiating crew made six mistakes in crunch time all of them leaving the Jazz disadvantaged.
At the end of regulation, the referees failed to call a foul when Dwight Howard held Jazz forward Chris Johnson and missed a traveling violation on Houston's James Harden. In overtime, there were four violations missed: a defensive three-second violation on Rockets' point guard Patrick Beverley, two fouls that should have been whistled on Howard and one more on Rockets forward Trevor Ariza.
Jazz center Tibor Pleiss has again been reassigned to the D-League. The Jazz in recent days have twice called Pleiss to Salt Lake to practice with the team, but he has not made an NBA appearance since Jan. 27 against Charlotte.