PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - LaMarcus Aldridge knew when it was his time.
The two-time All-Star went on a personal nine-point rally to pull Portland ahead for good and the Trail Blazers closed out the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 12-0 run for a 108-96 victory on Wednesday night.
Aldridge finished with 32 points and 18 rebounds for his 22nd double-double of the season. The 6-foot-11 forward also made his first 3-pointer.
“I had missed so many shots early and I looked up and it was two minutes left and I told Will Barton, ‘It’s my time.’ I stepped up and just made shots down the stretch,” he said.
Dion Waiters‘ 3-pointer gave the Cavs a 94-93 lead with 3:44 to go. Aldridge made his first 3-pointer of the season to give Portland back the lead, but Anderson Varejao’s tip tied it at 96.
Aldridge answered with pair of free throws, a 19-foot jumper and a layup that made it 102-96.
“He knew it was winning time and I just felt like you could see him with the determination of making a play at the rim,” coach Terry Stotts said.
Deng, acquired in a trade with the Chicago Bulls last week in exchange for Andrew Bynum and draft picks, continues to fit in nicely with the Cavaliers. He had 27 points, matching his season high, in Cleveland’s 120-118 victory in Los Angeles on Tuesday. It was the Cavaliers‘ fourth win on the road this season.
It looked at first like this game might come down to which of the talented point guards would have a better night. In the end, however, Aldridge made the difference - prompting fans to once again shower him with “M-V-P!” chants. The Blazers are 19-3 when he has a double-double.
The 3-pointer was Aldridge’s first after six unsuccessful attempts this season.