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NBA Playoffs: LaMarcus Aldridge Blazes Rockets Again With 43 Points

LaMarcus Aldridge followed up his 46-point mind-blowing performance in Game 1 of the first-round series against the Houston Rockets with another head-turner: 43 points Wednesday night in another Portland Trail Blazers win, pushing them to a 2-0 advantage heading to Portland.

Aldridge wrecked all Houston comers in the 112-105 victory, making 18 of 28 shots despite the Rockets dedicating much of their practice to containing him. Didn’t work. He scored 10 of the Blazers’ first 14 points and never slowed.

“I made tough shots,” Aldridge said. “I don’t think too much was easy. I just got in that rhythm and started making shots.”

Aldridge became the first player with consecutive games of 43 points or more 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 in 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 years.

Point guard Damian Lillard aided the Portland cause with six free throws down the stretch. The Blazers’ all-around composed and gritty play–especially on the road–helped offset a 25-point effort by Dwight Howard. It also helped that they harassed leading scorer James Harden into 6-for-19 shooting.
But everything came back to Aldridge, the 6-foot-11 power forward from Texas.

“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 again.”

Rockets coach Kevin McHale said: “We tried changing it up. (But) 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.”

For Aldridge, he sees the bigger picture.

“(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 same (success).”

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