SAN ANTONIO – LaMarcus Aldridge is on a terrific two-game roll and the San Antonio power forward covets another stellar outing when the Spurs host the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday at the AT&T Center.
Aldridge averaged 30 points on 25-of-32 shooting during the span, scoring a season-high 33 against Chicago on Christmas Day and following up with 27 on 10-of-12 shooting in Wednesday's 119-98 rout of the Phoenix Suns.
Aldridge's strong outing against Phoenix was timely as it came with star small forward Kawhi Leonard (stomach illness) out of the lineup for the first time this season. "When LaMarcus plays aggressive like that we are a better team," point guard Tony Parker told reporters. "He's in attack mode, and he's looking for his teammates and Phoenix couldn't guard him."
Portland will be without star point guard Damian Lillard (ankle) for the third consecutive game.
The Trail Blazers halted a six-game skid on Wednesday by registering a 102-89 home win over the Sacramento Kings.
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SPURS GAME NOTES (26-6): Aldridge has been the No. 2 scoring option behind Leonard since arriving in San Antonio prior to the 2015-16 season and coach Gregg Popovich said the former Portland star still defers too much to his teammates.
"To some degree. Most of our players are sort of built like that," Popovich told reporters. "Kawhi's gotten more aggressive as the years have gone by. We call his number and that sort of thing but players know where they have the green light, how we want them to play. He's a team player so every once in a while he's gonna probably pass up a shot."
Leonard is expected to return for Friday's game but might not have his typical high energy.
1. Leonard scored 33 points as the Spurs routed the Trail Blazers 110-90 on Dec. 23 for their fourth straight victory in the series.
2. Portland's CJ McCollum is averaging 24.5 points and seven assists over the past two games.
3. Tony Parker matched his season high of 20 points against the Suns while connecting on 10-of-16 shots.