At one point, Omer Asik‘s body language resembled Charlie Brown after Lucy had yanked the football away from him yet again. That’s what LaMarcus Aldridge has done to most every Houston defender they’ve thrown at him during back-to-back games of 40-plus points in Houston to take a commanding 2-0 series lead heading back to Portland.
LMA’s shooting exhibition makes quantitative analysts squeamish. He’s a 7-foot mid-range speacialist that would just assume pick-and-pop all game long then bang down low. So far, he’s been remarkably accurate in that vein, shooting 35-of-59 in his first two games of the series (59 percent) while scoring 89 combined points (46 in Game 1 and 43 Wednesday night).
Here’s his mid-range intensive shot chart from earlier tonight:
And here’s his shot chart so far in the series:
After an onslaught of Dwight Howard dunks in the first quarter — 8-of-9 for 19 points — left Blazers fans dizzy and nauseous, LMA continued to strike fear in nylon and Rockets fans alike. He calmly scored 11 points in the first to keep Portland in it as Dwight was going off. Then added 12 in the second before crescendoing with 16 in the third. Aldridge fell back to earth in the fourth period, but almost single-handedly won the game for the Blazers as Damian Lillard struggled on the night (3-for-14).
LMA went 17-for-31 from the field in Game 1 but was even more accurate in Game 2, hitting on 18-of-28 from the floor on his way to a game-high 43 points, eight boards, three blocks and countless effusions of merriment from Blazers fans on Twitter.
While Aldridge lives in the mid-range “dead zone,” he still found time to roll after this high screen with Wesley Matthews and slam one down on poor Omer:
Watch LMA’s second consecutive 40-point game below as the Blazers took both games in Houston to open their best-of-seven first-round series with a flourish.
Only two other players in NBA history have scored 40-plus points in consecutive games to start the NBA Playoffs: Tracy McGrady and Michael Jordan. T-Mac, for one, wasn’t too happy with Aldridge equaling his feat:
Damn 'LA' why you gotta do my Rockets like this?
— Tracy McGrady (@Real_T_Mac) April 24, 2014
(Video via Dawk Ins)
Has anybody else played as well as LaMarcus Aldridge in these playoffs?
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