That brace idea worked out pretty well.
LaMarcus Aldridge has a torn ligament in his thumb that will require surgery, but he has decided to put that off for now and try to play through it — and he played well Saturday night in the Trail Blazers finished with 26 points (on 9-of-22 shooting) and 9 rebounds on the night, including eight of those points in the fourth quarter when Portland went on an 11-0 run to take the lead and hold on to win over Washington.
He remained the focal point of the Blazers’ offense — he had 68 touches, only point guard Damian Lillard had more. Aldridge did struggle with his touch, shooting just 2-of-8 inside eight feet and hitting only 4-of-11 on uncontested shots (although the Wizards’ front line of Nene and Marcin Gortat had something to do with that). However he seemed to get more comfortable with the brace as the game went on and hit 6-of-6 from the free throw line in the fourth.
Portland needs Aldridge to hold on to their current three seed in the West. The Blazers are in a virtual tie for second with Memphis, but just four games separate them from the seven-seed Spurs (who are hot of late). There’s not much margin for error, and games like Saturday against a quality Washington squad are the kinds of wins the Blazers need to hold their ground.
Aldridge talked about his choice before the game Saturday.