Re-watching LaMarcus Aldridge's 46 vs. Houston in 2014 playoffs brought up all the 'what-ifs'

Jamie Hudson
NBC Sports Northwest

Oh what could've been with LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard?!

So many memories came flooding back Tuesday night as Rip City watched the 2014 First Round playoff battle between the Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets in Game 1.

It was hard not to think about the handful of what-ifs with this Trail Blazers squad.

It was Damian Lillard's first playoff game after Portland missed the postseason his rookie year.  

Lillard and Aldridge scored the Trail Blazers final 25 points of regulation.

In regulation, Lillard had 26 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. Not a bad postseason debut. He finished the night with 31 points and nine rebounds.

Aldridge dominated in this game before fouling out in overtime. Watching the game live in 2014, it really seemed like a glimpse of what could be with the star-studded play between LA and Dame.  

Watching Tuesday's Trail Blazers Classic game felt similar to reopening a deep wound for some with Portland beating Houston 122-120 in OT. 

Not only were Trail Blazers fans thinking about the what-if Aldridge didn't leave Portland in free agency the following summer, fans were also wondering about what could've been had Wesley Matthews had not torn his Achilles in 2015 as well.

And now Blazers fans can't help but think about the possibility of Aldridge returning to Portland.

Fans aren't alone in this thinking.

During the NBA suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LA has talked about how he would "be cool" with retiring in San Antonio or Portland

As I think about it, I think I would be cool with it ending in two places, either with San Antonio or in Portland. I think either one would be fine with me. I feel like I've made some good memories in San Antonio. I feel like I'm in a really good family in San Antonio. They understand me. I understand them. So, I like that. I feel I have a lot of history in Portland. So, going back there to finish would be fine also. I'm perfectly fine with finishing my career in San Antonio riding it out until my next chapter, or if things have to change there, and if they decide to go young, then I wouldn't mind going to Portland. --  Former Trail Blazer LaMarcus Aldridge

Now that nearly five years have passed since LA left the Blazers for San Antonio, Trail Blazers fans, for the most part, seem to have buried the hatchet.

And if they haven't, re-living LA's career-high and franchise playoff-record 46 points probably helps.

Of course, there was plenty made about the idea that Aldridge couldn't handle Lillard stealing the show and he wanted to continue to be β€˜the man.' And maybe there was some truth to that, but both Aldridge and Lillard have had many conversations since LA left and they are all good. The two have also said there was never any bad blood between them.

So, yes, it's fun to think about a reunion.

And sure, there have been several conversations, many articles written, and so much time focused on if Aldridge would've stayed in Portland, but it's been a perfect time to reflect during the Stay at Home Order and this Classic game has us all reflecting.

Re-watching LaMarcus Aldridge's 46 vs. Houston in 2014 playoffs brought up all the 'what-ifs' originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

What to Read Next