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LaMarcus has a big March; Roy is a new daddy

04:37 PM PDT on Thursday, March 29, 2007

Associated Press

LaMarcus Aldridge is thriving as a rookie starter, with five 20-point games in March. And the month isn't over.

Going into Thursday night's game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Aldridge was averaging 16.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game in March.

kgw.com Graphic

Those 20-point games have all come as Aldridge has taken over the starting job at center for Joel Przybilla, who is out for the rest of the season because of surgery on his left knee.

Overall, Aldridge was averaging five rebounds a game to share the lead among the league's rookies. He's averaged 9.1 points over the course of the season.

He has six double-doubles, also tops among rookies.

"I feel like lately I have been gaining more confidence, getting more comfortable. I feel like Coach has been trying to get me more opportunities to score, I feel like he is trusting me more and I feel like my teammates are getting more comfortable with what I can do and are putting me in great positions to score," Aldridge wrote on his blog for blazers.com earlier this month.

On March 1, Aldridge had 30 points against Charlotte. It was the first time a Blazers rookie had scored 30 since Steve Colter in the 1984-85 season.

His 17 rebounds on Nov. 13 in Denver were the most by a rookie in the league this season.

"He's taken advantage of the opportunity that was out there," coach Nate McMillan said. "We like what we see. He continues to grow."

Blazers guard Brandon Roy, who has won rookie of the month honors twice and is a leading candidate for the league's rookie of the year, thinks Aldridge deserves the award for March.

"I think the better he got, the better the team got," Roy said.

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NEW DAD: In addition to the rigors of a rookie season in the NBA, Brandon Roy has a whole new job.

Roy and his girlfriend Tiana Bardwell are the proud new parents of Brandon Jr.

Roy left the team before Monday's game against at Chicago to be there for the birth. Little Brandon weighed in at 6 pounds, 10 ounces.

"I'm on cloud nine right now," the new dad said at practice Wednesday. He was still wearing his hospital wristband.

Bardwell and the baby, who live in Seattle, will come down to Portland for the rest of the season so they can be with dad.

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IME OUT: Blazers small forward Ime Udoka will be out for the week after suffering a concussion in Monday's loss at Chicago.

He also suffered a concussion in a game at Philadelphia on Dec. 11.

"That happens. The way he plays the game -- he gives his body up," said coach Nate McMillan, who said Udoka was one of the better defenders on the team and will be missed.

McMillan said he would experiment at the small forward position, using Martell Webster, Travis Outlaw and even LaMarcus Aldridge.

Udoka, a Portland native who went to Jefferson High School and played at Portland State, was the only Blazer to start in every game this season. He made the team roster as a training camp invitee.