The Portland Trail Blazers have been the surprise team of the NBA this season, and a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder solidified the Trail Blazers as true contenders in the Western Conference. The Blazers defeated the Thunder by a score of 111-104 in a game where Kevin Durant was not the best player on the court. LaMarcus Aldridge led the way for Portland with 38 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists. His performance illustrated why he is a contender for league MVP and why the Trail Blazers are the dark horse team to come out of the west.
Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 54 points, but their effort was in vain. All five starters for the Trail Blazers were in double figures which shows how deep Portland really is. Damian Lillard had 14 points and six assists in the game, and now the Trail Blazers are 12-0 when the sophomore sensation has six or more assists. The floor general took the league by storm last year and shows no signs of slowing down this season.
The Trail Blazers also possess some of the best spot-up shooters in the game in Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum. These shooters help spread the floor for Portland’s MVP candidate and give the Trail Blazers balance on offense. Portland is currently 5th in the league in points with 104.7 per game, but will the Trail Blazers’ hot start translate into a deep run in the playoffs?
The Trail Blazers have role players to complement superstars, and the balance of the team is commendable. In addition to the talent on the floor for Portland, the Rose Garden is known for being a tough atmosphere for road teams to play in. This is Portland’s best team in years, and the Trail Blazers have a real chance to capture a championship this season.
Greg Douglas is an NBA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your network on Google.