LaMarcus Aldridge may have been left off the Western Conference all star team, but he declared emphatically Monday night that he is most certainly an All Star. Aldridge dominated the Bulls for a career high 42 points, out-dueling dynamo Derrick Rose to lead the Blazers to a109-103 victory over Chicago.
In what has become a recurring story this season for Portland, Aldridge turned in another brilliant performance, showcasing his array of talents by scoring from nearly every inch of court. In the final five minutes, he had a stretch of 11 straight points for Portland, showing a little bit of everything and helping hold off the furious efforts of MVP candidate Derrick Rose.
Rudy Fernandez, who bears nearly the entire burden of bench scoring at this point, answered the call in this one as well. With ten minutes left, Rudy nailed a three to give the Blazers a six point lead at 80-74. Minutes later, Rose drove to the hoop for two of his 36 points to make it 84-83, however Rudy would respond with a driving layup of his own. On the next possession, he wisely pump faked on a three point attempt to draw Rose in to the air, took the foul and drained the three free throws to push the margin up to six.
Aldridge would take over from there.
He spun off Taj Gibson and dunked a backdoor alley-oop from Andre Miller to make it 98-91. A minute later after a Chicago bucket, he stroked a 20-footer through the net to extend the lead back to seven in front of a raucous Rose Garden crown.
In a microcosm of the evening, Derrick Rose needed just six seconds to pour in a three to cut the lead back to four with 1:05 remaining. The Blazers then fed the ball to their stud in the post and let him go to work, and he delivered a gorgeous fade away jumper to all but seal the deal.
Portland was superb from the free throw line all night, going to the line 40 times and draining 37. The Bulls on the other hand were just 11-18, which was the difference in game. With 5:14 left in the fourth Chicago went over the foul limit and the Blazers used that advantage to salt this one away in the final minutes.
Not to be overlooked amongst the Aldridge extravaganza was a fantastic effort by point guard Andre Miller. Aldridge was the beneficiary of several timely feeds from Miller, who played one of his better games in a Blazer uniform. He finished the evening with 27 points, 6 rebounds, 11 assists and 4 steals. He also was a perfect 13-13 from the line, many of those coming down the stretch to help maintain their slim advantage. Rudy Fernandez finished with 18 of Portland’s 22 points bench points.
The Blazers are starting to get some good news on the injury front as well, as they expect to get Marcus Camby and Brandon Roy back in the next 7-10 days.
Portland will have three days off before facing a gettable stretch of three games in four nights against Toronto, Minnesota and Detroit.
Aldridge became the first player since Clyde Drexler in 1989 to score 40 points in back to back home games.
About the Author
Written by Brandon Marcus
I am 25 year old native New Yorker. I went to the University of Florida where I got my degree Sports Management. I am a die hard fan of the New York Giants, Knicks, Mets and the movie, Die Hard. I'll be covering the Portland Trail Blazers, but also will keep my eye on the league as a whole, and will drop in from time to time with some random thoughts.