LaMarcus Aldridge keeps putting up the numbers but he can’t do it all for the Portland Trail Blazers, who have to be concerned that they’ve lost three of their last five games and six of seven on the road with a 118-103 NBA setback Friday to the Houston Rockets.
James Harden stole the show with 13-of-16 shooting and 35 points but had a better supporting cast this particular night.
Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard also put up the points, 24 and 18 respectively, but the Blazers continue to have problems finishing the job.
What Aldridge and his teammates lacked was effective defensive pressure to control the Houston offense. They wanted to go toe-to-toe rather than play some effective defense against Houston’s ball handlers and the passing lanes.
The Blazers also need to do something about their 3-point shooting. Aldridge is at 10 percent efficiency with threes and didn’t try any against the Rockets. But 10-of-23 from the floor isn’t two bad for field goal shooting.
The Blazers were 8-of-26 against Houston and 10-of-45 in previous combined appearances. No wonder they have been slumping in recent games.
But Aldridge is still keeping the Blazers in the ball game. Last season at 21.7 points per game, he was the first Portland player in 20 years to finish in the top seven in scoring. He’s having another stellar season with 20.7 points and 9.1 boards a game. But he and his teammates need to play better defense in the tough games against teams like Houston or else it’s going to be a long final weeks of the regular season.