It’s interesting to think that the Portland Trail Blazers almost had to do without LaMarcus Aldridge for a significant amount of time had he elected to undergo surgery. Since wavering that decision, he is looking as good as ever, leading his team as usual in a 108-87 win over the Phoenix Suns.
There wasn’t anything new about Aldridge’s stat line of 19 points and 13 rebounds, but it push him to 220 career double doubles, marking a new franchise record. In his ninth season, Aldridge might not have had a lot of playoff success, bu there’s no doubt he is one of the greatest players in the history of the ball club. And to think Aldridge could have been playing for the Chicago Bulls had they not made the mistake of going after Tyrus Thomas.
Except for Aldridge, it was a good day for Nicolas Batum, scoring 20 points to go with 7 assists. The Blazers have been very good so far this season (4th in the West) but this is a down year for Batum offensively, averaging just 9.2 points per game while shooting under 39% from the field. This was a rare occurrence for him this season in which he got to lead the team in scoring as the Blazers mostly got away with transition and fast breaks instead of long range shooting.
The Suns played bad, terrible basketball in the fourth quarter. The trio of point guards concept exploded in their faces for once, getting outscored 42-22 in the fourth. Using Aldridge more and more as a big man and not a stretch four while the return of Robin Lopez helps this team out following a disappointing January in which they went only 6-9, causing them to drift away from the Golden State Warriors, ahead by 6.5 games.
It was a big win for us. They’ve given us a lot of trouble in the last two or three years. We came out tonight and took the challenge defensively. We really got after them on the defensive end of the floor. I think now our defense is better. I’m at the rim more, I’m in the paint more, so I think it’s just a mindset of knowing, I’m in the paint, so go and get it.
Lillard scored 13 points on 6-of-15 from the field while Wesley Matthews added 14. C.J. McCollum scored 12 points off the bench in a rare productive night from the disappointing second-year player. The Suns were led by Markieff Morris with 18 points and 17 from Goran Dragic. In a wild game with 46 combined points on fast breaks, their shooting (38.6% from the field) and weak interior defense (giving up 56 points in the paint) caught up with them in the end.