Before tonight, there had been two players in NBA history to go on the road and get a pair of 40 point games to start off the playoffs. Now, there are three. LaMarcus Aldridge joined Tracy McGrady and Michael Jordan in an elite club as he dominated the Rockets in a 112-105 defeat that put a serious dent in the Rockets' chances to advance. The Blazers power forward put up an absurd 43 and 8 stat line on Wednesday night, making the Rockets look absolutely silly for 48 minutes.
The game started off in the Rockets favor, with Dwight Howard making his first six shots as he earned all of the Rockets first 13 points. However, no matter how dominant Howard was, the Blazers stuck around during the entire first half. After 24 minutes, it was tied. And when the third quarter got going, Howard's dominance subsided, but LaMarcus Aldridge kept up a torrid pace. The Blazers took the lead, and would not relinquish it.
For as good as Aldridge was, James Harden was just as bad. Harden played one of his worst games of the season in game one, but he was even worse in game two. He turned the ball over 5 times, went 6-19 from the field, and played absolutely dreadful defense. When the chips were down and the team needed him most, the Rockets superstar was nowhere to be found.
The Rockets head to Portland down 2-0 with a number of questions to answer. How can they slow down LaMarcus Aldridge? Can James Harden get going? Can they hit a shot from distance?
The Rose Garden (Moda Center) is one of the hardest places in the NBA to get a win, and now the Rockets need to get two. The series is far from over, but the Rockets have put themselves in a position where they have quite the uphill climb.