My forward’s better than yours …

On the night Timberwolves star Kevin Love was voted an All-Star starter for the first time, Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge went out and renewed the conversation concerning who’s the best power forward in the game with a 44-point, 13-rebound game in a comeback home victory over Denver.

“What can you say? He’s an MVP candidate. Best power forward in the game,” teammate Wes Matthews told reporters afterward. “I’ve been saying that for two years now.”

The debate continued Saturday night, when the two players met again in Portland.

Chuck says

Fans worldwide voted Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant an All-Star starter even though he has played just six games this season.

Whether he returns in time to play a couple of obligatory minutes in New Orleans remains to be seen. But, believe it or not, TNT analyst Charles Barkley has an opinion about whether Bryant should try to play again this season.

“It’s not going to matter,” Barkley said about the Lakers. “They are going to stink with him or without him, it really doesn’t make a difference. They are not a good team, they are not going to be a good team. If he is thinking about the future and he wants to win another championship, they should try to get a great draft pick. He should get healthy for the rest of the season. I think he will make a big mistake coming back.”

Sizing up U.S. team

USA Basketball on Thursday announced 28 players eligible for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics and men’s national teams. A squad that was limited to playing Love and Tyson Chandler at center during the 2012 London Olympics suddenly looks deep at that position.

Dwight Howard is on the list after missing London because of injury. Chandler and youngster Anthony Davis are back as well. And 14 newcomers on the list include big men LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Drummond.

“We have more guys there than we’ve had before,” USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said.