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Trail Blazers Start Trip With A Thunderous Win

04/16/09
  1. Written by: trailblazers  / avg. rating: 5.0

    BY MIKE ACKER

    LaMarcus Aldridge put up a season-high 35 points and grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds, leading the Portland Trail Blazers (48-27) over the Oklahoma City Thunder (21-54) 107-72 at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City Friday night.

    Portland won their fourth straight game by 20 plus points for the first time since 1978. The victory put the Trail Blazers one victory away of their first postseason birth since the 2002-2003 season.

    "We took care of business," said Head Coach Nate McMillan. "I thought we were great tonight. I thought it was important that we got off to a good start in this building and set the tone to keep the crowd out of the game. I thought we did that. One of the things we wanted to do was dominate the paint with our bigs and I thought we did that."

    The Trail Blazers got going early, Friday night, looking to avenge a 102-93 loss coming at Oklahoma City on February 6th. Steve Blake hit a three-point bucket with 3:32 remaining in the opening quarter, giving Portland a 20-10 advantage. The Trail Blazers finished the first quarter leading 25-14, holding the Thunder to 25 percent shooting from the field. Aldridge and Blake finished the opening quarter with eight points apiece.

    Oklahoma City made a run to close the gap in the second quarter. Jeff Green hit a three-pointer pulling the Thunder to within 34-33 with 3:55 remaining in the opening half. Portland closed out the half with a 13-2 run and entered the halftime locker room leading 47-35.

    Aldridge put on an offensive show in the third quarter, and helped the Trail Blazers put the game away. Aldridge tipped in an offensive rebound with 4:31 remaining in the third quarter putting Portland ahead 69-41. Aldridge finished the third quarter with 13 points, achieving his first 30-point game of the season in only three quarters.

    "I think I have become a better post player," said Aldridge of his recent improvement. "I think at first when I came out I was more of a pick and pop guy but I have added the dynamic of posting up now and have become a double threat."

    "We want to establish the paint and we start with LaMarcus," said McMillan. "They were playing him with single coverage and as long as they are doing that we are going to get it to him. I thought he did a good job of attacking."

    The Trail Blazers bench finished out the game, with every player on the active roster getting playing time.

    Aldridge’s 35 points and 18 rebounds was his team-leading 19th double-double of the season. Brandon Roy added 15 points and Blake contributed 14 points and 10 assists for his fourth double-double of the season.

    Portland continues their road trip on Sunday in Houston against the Rockets. Sunday’s game will be the Trail Blazer’s first chance to clinch a playoff spot with a victory.

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