What a game! I’m pretty sure most, if not all, Trail Blazers fans are experiencing a playoff hangover today. Living in the Midwest, I didn’t get to bed until after midnight but, man, was it worth it. The fight and will to win exuded by the Portland Trail Blazers last night was so refreshing. However, it was the performance of their two All-Stars that really stood apart.
LaMarcus Aldridge had a game for the record books. It has been reported that before the game, Aldridge approached Clyde Drexler and told him that he wanted to “catch” Drexler’s team records. Is Aldridge a prophet? No. He did, however, break a record that “The Glide” never achieved during his time in Portland. Aldridge scored a game-high 46 points last night, which broke the franchise playoff game record for points. The previous record was set by none other than Bonzi Wells (yes, that Bonzi Wells) in 2003 when he had 45 points against Dallas.
One of Drexler’s records was “caught” last night. LaMarcus Aldridge became one of six Trail Blazers to score 40 or more points in a playoff game. The other five players include Brandon Roy, Mychal Thompson, Terry Porter, Drexler, and the aforementioned Wells. You could say he’s in pretty good company these days.
Damian Lillard also had an impressive outing in Game 1. Lillard was playing in his first playoff game of his career. Naturally, he was nervous and probably didn’t expect to have the game he did. Or maybe he did know he’d go out and post 31 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. By the way, he only turned the ball over once. How great is this kid? A rare, natural talent lives inside him and it seems like the sky is the limit for him.
Lillard also helped secure the win for Portland. When Aldridge fouled out with 1:04 left in overtime, Lillard stepped up and scored five of the Trail Blazers’ last six points. As Mike Tokito reported, Lillard mentioned after the game that, “When he (Aldridge) went out of the game, we felt like our team has to own up to that, have L.A.’s back and come through for him.” Again, what a poised and humble player but an even better teammate.
To top off all of this praise for Aldridge and Lillard, the dynamic duo reached a new high on Sunday. Tom Haberstroh of ESPN reported that Aldridge and Lillard became the first teammates to score 45 and 30 in a playoff game since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in 1992. Wow. What a tremendous game by the Trail Blazers’ All-Stars. I can’t wait to see what happens in Game 2.
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