Originally written November 05, 2012 on Oregon Sports News:
Coming into this NBA season, I was fully prepared to sugar coat a below-par season from these Portland Trail Blazers. Even after the Halloween night upset of the Lakers, I thought maybe it was just a fluke type of win. But then my tone changed strangely enough in the loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. LaMarcus Aldridge is the leader of this team and has never really been known for his leadership, grit or fight. He is seen around the league as a big guy with a nice touch on his midrange jumper, an adequate defender, and a very athletic power forward. Friday night against the Thunder, I saw a different Aldridge. His shot wasn't falling the way he is used to but instead of giving up, he grit his teeth and contributed to his team in other ways. He looked like a leader on the floor, he hauled in 15 rebounds (double his career average), and he kept shooting. As the buzzer sounded, the Blazers had lost the game but there was a different atmosphere about this team; they had bought i...
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