Aldridge and Felton Focus On Moving Forward
By sarahhecht Posted in: LaMarcusAldridge
The highs are higher and the lows are lower. Thus is the reality of a condensed season jam-packed with games on virtually every-other night.
With this being the case it’s ever more important for NBA players to maintain as much balance and level-headedness as possible. A difficult feat considering the very draw of sport, both watching and playing, is the potential adrenaline rush or idea that you’ll witness something incredible.
This idea of staying level is all well and good, but practically impossible to master. Instead, a more feasible approach to dealing with the roller coaster of a season is to move on quickly. Enjoy the excitement of a big win or wallow in the depths of a tough loss. Go ahead, you have one minute. Now, get over it.
That’s exactly what the Trail Blazers, and every other NBA team for that matter, are forcing themselves to do.
Struggling in sport is natural. Players go through periods of slump and periods of incredible success. They also get injured. We’ve seen both of these scenarios play-out in Portland recently. And both felt more severe because more games were impacted than would normally be.
Point guard Raymond Felton has had a rough go of it as of late but seems to have turned the page. Tonight, in the Trail Blazers 97-77 stomping of the Atlanta Hawks, Felton put up one of the best lines we’ve seen from him in a while. He scored 14 points, dished eight assists and only had two turnovers.
“I like that fact that he was aggressive,” McMillan said. “That is what we’re looking for from him and we know he can do it. The attack was good and pushing the ball, keeping pressure. I thought he played free tonight and looked pretty loose and it was good to see his shot fall and get some confidence there. Hopefully he can continue from here.”
And continue from here he plans to do. He’s moving forward as the season commands and refusing to dwell on the past. He knows he hit a rough patch and he was more dismayed than anyone. But, it’s done.
“It’s a relief to be back to yourself,” Felton said. “To be back smiling, just playing basketball the way I know. Playing off instincts, playing at my pace, just having fun out there.”
Just as Felton is moving forward in his game LaMarcus Aldridge is doing the same. Portland’s All-Star missed two games after spraining his left ankle—the Trail Blazers ended up winning the first and coughing up an 18-point lead in the second.
Of his ankle during his first game back tonight Aldridge said, “It felt good, a little bit sore in the beginning but I felt good.”
His double-double performance made it crystal-clear he’s pushing forward from injury with style. Nineteen points, ten rebounds and an infectious mentality to boot. We’ve seen the Trail Blazers begin to push through some of their ongoing challenges in recent games. And tonight Aldridge made clear that his extra energy, as well as that of his teammates, to gut out wins is at the forefront of their minds.
“I was a little fresh so I had the extra step tonight, but I think guys are just tired of hearing about the small things that we’re not doing to win so I think guys dive on the floor more, trying to get those extra possessions out.”
Everyone hustling. Everyone learning. Everyone moving forward together.