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Blazers vs. Wizards Final Score: 103-96; Aldridge's Return Helps Portland Fight Past Washington

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LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 9 rebounds instead of surgery, leading Portland to a win over the Washington Wizards.

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Portland saw the return of their leading scorer despite a torn ligament in his thumb, and he helped bring the win at home.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 9 rebounds, Wesley Matthews had 19 and the Portland Trail Blazers overcame a slow start to overcome the Washington Wizards, 103-96, Saturday night at Moda Center.

Aldridge had a strong first quarter, thumb injury and all, scoring ten points and grabbing four rebounds.  Unfortunately, the Blazers as a team were late to the game.  The rest of the starting lineup for the Blazers shot just 1-of-9 in the quarter.  Portland missed its first nine shots, and did not hit a field goal until the 7:55 mark of the quarter.  Washington took advantage with a 13-2 run, leading in the quarter by as many as 14.  The Wizards would lead by 12 after one.

Portland found their range in the second quarter, but Washington's strong shooting kept the home team at bay.  After shooting 0-for-6 from three point range in the first, the Blazers shot 5-of-8 in the second to rally as close as four.  Matthews and Damian Lillard had seven each to lead Portland.  The Wizards maintained by shooting 50% from the field in the second quarter and 55% from the field in the half.  Nene Hilario had 15 to lead Washington, who kept a 10 point lead at halftime.

The Blazer defense clamped down on Washington in the third quarter, holding them to just 15 points.  Aldridge and Matthews both had six in the period, with Aldridge hitting an 18-foot shot to give Portland its first lead with 1:31 left in the quarter.  Former Blazer Andre Miller answered for Washington, who led by one after three.

Portland and Washington exchanged the lead in the fourth quarter, with the Wizards leading by four after baskets by John Wall and Bradley Beal.  Matthews responded with back-to-back threes, giving Portland a two point advantage with 3:28 remaining.  Portland would expand the lead to seven, but Washington closed the gap again.  With the Blazers leading by three with 1:08 remaining, Hilario fouled out by hitting Meyers Leonard on a three point shot.  Leonard hit all three free throws.  With Portland leading by three with 23 seconds remaining, Matthews missed a three, but Dorell Wright grabbed the rebound, and Lillard drained the clock down to 13 seconds before being fouled.  He hit both free throws to put the game out of reach.

Dorell Wright led the bench scoring with 10.  Lillard had 20 points and 7 assists.  Allen Crabbe started for the injured Nicolas Batum, but played just seven minutes in the first quarter and did not record a shot.

BOX SCORE

Gameday Thread Comments of the Night

Thanks to all who participated in tonight's Gameday Thread! Here were the most popular comments based on user recommendations:

# Recs Commenter Comment Link
20 AUS2PDX Yep, breaking news, Aldridge has massive balls
6 Blazerfan72 I figure, he is going to see to how his thumb does tonight and/or over the next couple of games, and if it is bothering him too much, he will do the surgery.
6 JmarcL4 I have a nike shirt that I'm wearing right now
5 RoodiePhirnandizz Go Portland, Oregon Trail Blazers!!!!
5 RoodiePhirnandizz I actually heard that LA is really into natural self-healing
5 AUS2PDX Go Blazers!
5 Mortimer I don't think we've examined whether LMA is even being tough here
4 joeybw87 Warrior fan here, I was here once before
4 Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein Game Ball LaMarcus "All Heart" Aldridge
4 Blazerfan72 Go Portland, Oregon Trail Blazers of the Northwest!!!
4 joeybw87 please don't mention Harden around me
4 annthefan Go Portland Trail Blazers!!!
4 LaMVP Go Trail Blazers!!

Post-Game Reaction

VIDEO: LaMarcus Aldridge hits a tough hook shot in the first quarter.

VIDEO: Thomas Robinson finishes a nice dish from Steve Blake with a one-handed dunk.

VIDEO: Damian Lillard finds Chris Kaman in the lane for a layup.

VIDEO: Dorell Wright completes a scramble play with a four-point play.