I've broken down the Trail Blazers' shocking start ad nausea. At the heart of it has been Lamarcus Aldridge. Aldridge is putting the Portland Trailblazers on his back this season. Last night, he faced the Houston Rockets on national television in a matchup of polar opposite personalities. Aldridge is the anti-Dwight Howard in almost every way another post player can be.
He's discreet, his offensive repertoire is one of the most diverse we've seen from any power forward outside of Tim Duncan, but he's not as imposing defensively. On Thursday night, he continued his tear through the first month and a half of the season by putting his shoe on Dwight Howard's neck and holding him there for 48 minutes.
Howard scored 32 and grabbed 17 boards, but getting the win was what mattered. However, posting 31 points and 25 boards against the Rockets was an exclamation point on the night.
After the win, Aldridge dropped the mic on Charles Barkley, who doubted whether the Blazers were anything more than a good regular season team that would flounder in the postseason.
Via Bleacher Report:
In Barkley's opinion, as relayed by his TNT colleague, though Portland is "a good team, he's not sure a team that shoots jump shots can make it to the finals or do damage in the playoffs."
In a strange twist, Aldridge's big night also matched a bit of Barkley history.
Aldridge with first 30-25 night in Blazers history. The second player to do so against #Rockets since '85. Barkley 34-26 as Sun in '95.— Nick Mathews (@Nick_Mathews) December 13, 2013