OKC Thunder: Thunder looking forward to rematch with Blazers, LaMarcus Aldridge

Aldridge had a big game the first time the Western Conference powers met, leading to a 111-104 Portland victory.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: December 30, 2013


photo - Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge, right, backs in on Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge, right, backs in on Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

His first field goal was a beauty, a lob from half-court that he gracefully corralled before using his lanky frame to lay it in with one motion.

It came less than five minutes in.

We should have known then it would be LaMarcus Aldridge's night.

From there, Portland's All-Star power forward and leading scorer tapped into his bag of tricks. In a 111-104 win over the Thunder inside the Moda Center on Dec. 4, Aldridge dropped an OKC opponent-high 38 points, scoring on a flurry of fadeaways and pump fakes, pullups and pick-and-pops.

“He had a pretty good game that game. So hat's off to him,” said Thunder center Kendrick Perkins. “But we're looking forward to playing him (Tuesday) and protecting home court.”

Perkins spoke following his team's practice Monday afternoon with a dash of disdain in his voice, like a man on a mission, a man seeking payback.

And with that as the backdrop, the stage is set for a rematch between the best two teams in the NBA's best conference.

Fans thought so much of the matchup that they voted it as NBA TV's Fan Night Game of the Week.

And rightfully so.

They're division rivals, the Blazers have stunned everyone with their surprising early play and Portland point guard Damian Lillard is enjoying a sensational second act following a Rookie of the Year-winning debut last season.

Oh yeah, we can't forget the Thunder's thirst for retribution.

All that's missing is Russell Westbrook. But his absence this time might provide even more intrigue simply because it offers the best chance yet to see just how good this Thunder bunch is without its brash point guard.

But it's Aldridge's performance in the first meeting that tops the list.

He had 38 points in 37 minutes. He scored 27 in the second half.

Continue reading this story on the...

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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