LaMarcus Aldridge's 43 help Blazers put Rockets
in 2-0 hole
HOUSTON -- LaMarcus Aldridge's son JJ, who
turned 5 on Wednesday, texted him after the
Portland Trail Blazers ' playoff win and told him he
looked like Spider-Man on one of his dunks.
To the Houston Rockets the Portland star
probably looked like a superhero on more than
just that one play.
Aldridge continued his dominance against the
Rockets, scoring 43 points to lift the Trail Blazers
to a 112-105 victory and a 2-0 lead in the first-
round playoff series.
Aldridge has made the most of the return to his
home state and put the Trail Blazers in control
heading home for Game 3 in Portland on Friday.
The former University of Texas star who grew up
in Dallas laughed heartily and said 'maybe' when
asked if he'd rather stay in the Lone Star state
after the way he's played in the first two games.
"(Leading) 2-0 going home feels great, but it's
not over," he said. "We're going to stay hungry,
stay humble and go home and try to duplicate the
Aldridge became the first player with consecutive
games of 43 points games in the playoffs since
Tracy McGrady did it in April 2003 after scoring a
career-high and franchise playoff-record 46 in an
overtime win in Game 1. He's also the first player
Trail Blazers history to have two 40-point games
in the postseason and his 89 points in a team's
first two playoff games trail only Michael Jordan
(1986, 1988) and Jerry West (1965) in the last 50
He's helped the Trail Blazers win two road games
to start a playoff series for just the second time
in franchise history and the first since they took
the first two against the Lakers in the 1977
Western Conference Finals.
Damian Lillard made six free throws down the
stretch to help out in the win. But the guard gave
all the credit for the win to Aldridge.
"What can they do to stop him? He was great
once again, just like Game 1," Lillard said. "When
a lot of guys couldn't get going and couldn't hit
shots, he just carried us. He played like an MVP
The Rockets spent the last two days of practice
focused on how to slow Aldridge down, but
nothing they did seemed to faze the 6-foot-11
"We tried changing it up tonight," Houston coach
Kevin McHale said. "Tonight, he was picking and
popping and moving and we were having trouble
running people at him. We were trying to get the
ball out of his hands as much as we could."
Aldridge credited coach Terry Stotts for moving
him around early in the game to help evade
"I made tough shots," Aldridge said. "I don't think
too much was easy tonight. I just got in that
rhythm and started making shots."
James Harden knocked down a 3-pointer with
about 30 seconds left to get the Rockets within 3.
Lillard made two free throws before Harden fouled
out about 10 seconds later. Mo Williams and
Lillard both made a pair of free throws after that
to secure the win. Lillard finished with 18 points.
Dwight Howard was unstoppable early and scored
25 points in the first half, but managed just seven
in the second half.
After missing 20 shots in Game 1, Harden
promised a better performance in this game. But
it was much of the same as he was 6 of 19 and
finished with 18 points.
"We don't have our same flow, our same mojo
that we had throughout the season," Harden said.
"We don't have our same swag ... we've got to
get that back."
The Rockets trailed by nine points before a 5-0
run cut the lead to 102-98 with about a minute
left. Both teams made a pair of free throws after
that before Lillard found Wesley Matthews wide
open for a reverse layup to make it 106-100 with
33 seconds left.
A one-handed dunk by Aldridge over Omer Asik
gave Portland a 96-87 lead with about five
With Aldridge on the bench to start the fourth,
Houston scored the first four points of the period
to cut the lead to two points, but Williams and
Dorell Wright made consecutive 3s to make it
89-81 midway through the quarter.
Aldridge made 10 of Portland's first 14 points of
the second half to help the Trail Blazers build a
67-58 lead with about eight minutes left in the
quarter. Houston scored the next nine points, with
the last five from Chandler Parsons, to tie it at 67
a couple of minutes later.
Portland an 83-77 led entering the fourth quarter.
The Trail Blazers scored seven straight points to
take a 53-51 lead late in the second quarter, but
Beverley's basket at the buzzer tied it at halftime.
Howard scored Houston's first 13 points and had
19 -- with five dunks -- by the end of the first
quarter to help the Rockets to a 31-23 lead.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Houston Rockets - Recap - April 23, 2014 - ESPN
“ I’m honored to be on this team right now because he’s going to be great for years to come, and I’m going to hold on as long as I can.” -Tim Duncan on Kawhi Leonard.
And its going to take that kind of effort for them to knock out the Rockets at home (in Portland).
Odds are Houston will make an adjustment or two to stop that from happening again.
As the article points out, Tracy McGrady was the last player to do that, but there is a reason why Tracy led teams never advanced in the playoffs.
Not many teams have an answer for LA12, he's a great player. He'd be my 1 of a few guys I'd take A.D. (After Duncan). They're going to be a handful no matter who they face. Hell, Portland is our OKC....they seem to have our number. Our boys are going to have to play much better to get through the rest of the West.
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