Trail Blazers vs Warriors Wednesday, 04/17/13 AT 07:00PM

Aldridge Leads The Way As Trail Blazers Get W In Windy City

  1. Written by: erikgundersen  / avg. rating: 5.0


    LaMarcus Aldridge had another great game on the road trip as he scored 28 points and grabbed eight rebounds against the Bulls (36-31). The Trail Blazers (32-36) dominated from the second quarter on to win 99-89.

    The Trail Blazers finally stopped their recent trend of allowing opponents to get into an offensive rhythm early on in games. The Trail Blazers weren't scoring much, but they were shooting the ball efficiently early on and the Bulls scored 21 points in the first quarter, much better than the high-20-to-low-30s first quarters that had become customary for Trail Blazers opponents.

    While it took the rest of the team a little bit longer to find their offensive rhythm, LaMarcus Aldridge had no trouble finding his. Aldridge has been in a great rhythm over the past two weeks and it continued into tonight as he scored 10 of Portland's first 20 points. Aldridge was dialed in, especially on his jumper, all night long and the Bulls couldn't do anything to stop him.

    After having their worst quarter of the year during the second quarter of their game in Milwaukee, the Trail Blazers had one of their better second quarters of the year tonight. They scored 32 points and held the Bulls to 16 points. In fact, the Bulls scored only a combined 32 points in the second and third periods. Stotts was proud of his team's defensive effort tonight.

    "I thought this was one of our best defensive or best defensive games of the season. Our pick and roll defense was very good. We helped, our weak side was active. We covered the paint pretty well. So it was good to see after the last three games giving up 57, 58 points in the first half it was good to come out with that kind of defensive performance."

    Lamarcus Aldridge agreed with his coach.

    "Yes, hands down. We rotated on the pick and roll very well and I thought this was one of our best efforts all year. When you play a physical team in the paint like they are, you have to match that effort. The guys knew tonight we couldn't give up 56 points or something like that in the 1st half. Everybody was active. That allowed us to move around and block shots."

    Damian Lillard joined Aldridge in the scoring as he pitched in 24 points along with seven assists. JJ Hickson was a beast on the boards as he grabbed 21 rebounds and he also pitched in nine points.

    The Trail Blazers only continued to dominate into the second half. Lillard and Aldridge continued their scoring and Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum were helping out from the three-point line, combining for six threes between them. Stotts kept the Trail Blazers rotation shorter than usual tonight as he only played seven players for much of the night. Eric Maynor, eight points and two assists, and Meyers Leonard, eight points and five rebounds, both had very productive outings off the bench. Leonard also had a great block that lead to a fast break that he finished with a dunk.

    "Yes it was a short rotation tonight," Stotts said. "I thought the starters were very effective at both ends of the floor. Our big guys were very effective against the pick and roll. I didn't expect a 7-man rotation but after the 1st half I didn't want to screw up and mess with that had worked. That's why I just had two subs-one perimeter and one big."

    Joakim Noah led the attack for the Bulls with 18 points and six rebounds.  But the Trail Blazers were able to take away a lot of what the Bulls wanted to do. It wasn't until the fourth quarter that the Bulls started to really get loose, behind Nate Robinson, coming off a 34-point outing. Robinson tried to lead a charge in the fourth, but the Trail Blazers had just enough answers to never let the game get to a suspenseful end.

    Aldridge continued his great stretch of play, saying he is just in a good rhythm.

    "Lately, I have been in a good rhythm. My moves had been pretty good and with my rhythm going tonight, it allowed me to play loose. It was not a mismatch, I just made a number of tough shots against them. I also told the guys at halftime that we needed to come out strong in the 3rd quarter because I knew they would. I said we needed to turn it up first before they got going."

    That's what the Trail Blazers were able to do, dominating the third quarter and playing well enough to make sure that Chicago's late runs didn't matter.

    The Trail Blazers were able to ride good defense and a fast-pace to get the Bulls out of their comfort zone and get their first win of the road trip.

    The Trail Blazers now travel to Atlanta to face the Hawks tomorrow night. Tip-off for that game is set for 4:30 and will be shown on CSNNW and can be heard on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.

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