On Dec. 9, 2014, LaMarcus Aldridge passed up Portland Trail Blazers legend Terry Porter for the No. 2 spot on Portland’s all-time leading scorers list. He did so with a buzzer-beating, step-back 3-pointer to end the first quarter. Aldridge finished his Portland career with 12,562 points before leaving for the San Antonio Spurs.
Now Damian Lillard is set to pass Aldridge when the Blazers play the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday, only needing three points to take over that No. 2 spot. Given this passing of the torch, I wanted to remember some of Aldridge’s best scoring outings — maybe he can add to the list if he comes back to the Blazers like has been discussed.
Feb. 1, 2011: 40 points vs. Spurs
Aldridge put in 40 points on 16-for-23 shooting from the field and 8-for-9 shooting from the free throw line against his current team. Thanks to Aldridge’s night, the Blazers beat a San Antonio starting lineup that featured Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan.
Feb. 7, 2011: 42 points vs. Bulls
Aldridge stepped up with 42 points on 15-for-23 shooting from the field and 12-for-14 shooting from the line. The big man outgunned Chicago guard Derrick Rose, who would later be named the MVP of that lockout-shortened 2011 season.
Jan. 23, 2014: 44 points vs. Nuggets (Blazer career high)
Portland’s big man set his Blazer career high with 44 points against Denver. He even scored the Blazers’ last 15 points down the stretch to help Portland close out the win. But he didn’t just rack up points, as he also grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out five assists in 38 minutes of play.
April 20, 2014: 46 points vs. Rockets — Round 1, Game 1 (playoff career high)
Game 1 was an incredible display by Aldridge. With the Blazers trailing 79-73 entering the fourth quarter, the big man scored 19 points, including the tip-in at the end of the fourth to force overtime.
When Portland fell behind 112-106 early in the extra frame, it was Aldridge’s 3-pointer that got the team rolling toward their eventual win. While helping the team steal Game 1 on the road, he set the Blazers’ all-time playoff game scoring record, passing the previous mark of 45 points by Bonzi Wells.
April 23, 2014: 43 points vs. Rockets — Round 1, Game 2
To follow up his history-making Game 1 was a hard task, but Aldridge put up another historic outing on the road with 43 points, no overtime needed. His Game 2 performance made him just the third player to score 40+ points on the road in Games 1 and 2 of a playoff series, joining Tracy McGrady and some guy named Michael Jordan.
Reflecting back on that 2014 series, Damian Lillard’s buzzer-beater in Game 6 gets its due credit. But Aldridge set the tone in Games 1 and 2, helping the underdog Blazers steal two games on the road — and, eventually, the series.