I've been thinking recently that Aldridge does not get enough credit for his defense. When you consider how vital Aldridge is to this team, it is ridiculous. To put it simply, if Aldridge gets in foul trouble in any game, the Blazers chances of winning plummet. Aldridge has only got himself into foul trouble early in one game since he became our go-to guy, that I remember, and we got absolutely destroyed while Aldridge was benched. His +/- is always absurd. It was +17 this last game against the Heat. It is generally something similar. In the very few minutes Aldridge actually gets a rest on the bench, the opposition inevitably makes a run.
Given all this, the gameplan to use against the Blazers is clear. Get Aldridge into early foul trouble, and get him out of the game, and see if the Blazers can win sans Aldridge. And yet, as I mentioned, only once has this plan actually worked. And that's not because Aldridge plays weak defense, it's because he plays smart defense. He almost never hacks, almost never retaliates (a la Howard), and almost never gets whistled for offensive fouls, which allows him his full quota on the defensive end. He knows when it is too late to stop a play, and doesn't give away 'and one' fouls to players who are going to score regardless. And he doesn't annoy the refs with constant whining and guesturing (LeBron, Kobe, Wade.... but mostly Kobe). All of which means he doesn't get into foul trouble early, which allows him to play tough defense late in games.
Aldridge's work on the offensive end has been lauded all season, and rightfully so, but I think he deserves more props than he gets for his work on defense.