LaMarcus Aldridge scores career-high 44 points, including Blazers’ final 15 in comeback over Nuggets

Eric Freeman
January 24, 2014

On Thursday night, it was announced that fans had neglected to vote Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, in the midst of a career-best season, as a West starter in the 2014 All-Star Game in New Orleans. Later in the night, Aldridge likely made several voters reconsider their choices.

Scoring a career-high 44 points on 15-of-29 shooting, Aldridge carried the Blazers to a 110-105 win over the visiting Denver Nuggets at Moda Center. He also performed his best with the game on his line. Midway through the fourth quarter, Portland underwent a scoring drought of nearly three minutes and trailed 97-95. At the 6:33 mark, Aldridge went to the line for two free throws and tied the game, starting a game-closing stretch in which he scored the team's last 15 points (11-of-14 FT, 2-of-4 FG) against just eight for the Nuggets as a whole.

Aldridge added 13 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks, performing at his best on a night when the Blazers could not muster the stellar three-point shooting (4-of-18 from long-range) that's given them such a fearsome offensive attack this season. The performance proved why Aldridge has received notice as a fringe MVP candidate and the strides he's taken as a primary scoring option. Although he didn't receive a desired All-Star spot on Thursday, it's a near certainty that he'll be named to the team when reserves are announced next week.

Thursday's win ended a two-game skid for the Blazers over road games against the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. While the team has seen its form dip slightly following a surprising 22-4 start, Portland remains in the top three of the conference and sits just a game back of OKC for the West's best record. With Aldridge leading the way, it wouldn't be a surprise to see them at that level of the standings in April, as well.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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