In only his second year out of UT, LaMarcus Aldridge and his Portland Trail Blazers are tearing through their schedule … at least now they are. To call Portland streaky would be like calling “two girls one cup” a bit uncouth.
After dropping their first three contests to open the season, the Trail Blazers flashed, winning their next four, before closing November with a pitiful 1-8 record. Since then, Aldridge’s team-leading 7.3 caroms per game* (it means rebounds, we’re English majors here) has helped Portland blaze its way to 13 consecutive victories, the NBA’s longest winning streak yet – second being Detroit who are in the middle of 10 Ws in a row. The streak’s end came at the hands of the Jazz on New Year’s Eve (a game where Aldridge managed 36 points after Brandon Roy fouled out early), but prior to that blemish, Aldridge’s squad hadn’t taken a loss since December 2. In fact, the Blazers Christmas run consisted of 72% of all their 19 victories.
During this time, Aldridge’s knee kept him out five contests, to which Roy and company held down the fort just fine. When the former Longhorn did take to the hardwood, his December averages of 16.9 points per game and 5.9 rebouns per game made him a consistent No. 2 man on the roster.
Portland’s tied for first with AI’s Nuggets in the Northwest division, but if you’re expecting the Blazers to revert back to their old ways, or if you’re assuming Aldridge is just going to roll over, maybe you’ve forgotten last year when the Lakers’ Lamar Odom got mouthy and a 21-year-old rookie Aldridge went toe-to-toe with the veteran:
Scared? Aldridge is anything but. And with him leading the way, neither are we.
* All stats as of January 3, 2008.
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