LaMarcus Aldridge leads Portland Trail Blazers over Houston Rockets 122-120 in OT
LaMarcus Aldridge was playing on another level Sunday night and had the emotional intensity to match the best performance of his career.
Portland's star was hungry after missing the playoffs the last two seasons and wanted to show his teammates that getting to the postseason was simply not enough.
Aldridge scored a career-high and franchise playoff-record 46 points and Damian Lillard added 31, including the go-ahead free throws in overtime, to lift the Trail Blazers to a 122-120 victory over the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.
"I've been here and I've went through this process and I understand it and I just think tonight was one of those nights," Aldridge said.
Aldridge fouled out with about a minute left in overtime and Lillard, who was making his playoff debut, took over. He scored the next five points for Portland and put the Trail Blazers on top by one point with a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left. Joel Freeland made one of two free throws seconds later to give the Blazers the win in their first trip to the postseason since 2011.
Lillard said seeing the intensity of Aldridge helped him raise his level of play.