NBA Playoffs: LeMarcus Aldridge can become 2014's Michael Jordan

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Before the 2014 NBA playoffs began, LeMarcus Aldridge had had a good season.

Two games in, and the Portland Trail Blazers man is making strides to greatness.

Aldridge already has 89 points to his name this postseason after breaking the Trail Blazers playoff game total record in Game One (scoring 46) and going close to beating it again in Game Two (43 points) in wins against the Houston Rockets.

Remembering that these two games were played away from his Moda Center home, and those numbers become even more impressive.

To put that achievement in some context, only Tracy McGready and all-time great Michael Jordan had previously hit two consecutive 40 point-plus games on the road in the playoffs.

Rare company indeed.

Portland coach Terry Stotts is of the opinion that the past two games have been the best Aldridge has ever played and you would be hard pressed to find anyone to disagree with that view.

James Harden meanwhile pinpointed his opponent as the deciding factor in Wednesday's defeat as the plaudits began to rain down.

But the key question of course is can Aldridge maintain his explosive start?

Well the Rockets will no doubt look to nullify his threat as much as possible in a season-defining game three but doing so would inevitably limited Houston's own offensive threat with Dwight Howard the most likely man to be tasked with shackling the 28-year-old.

But it's not like they have been letting him have a free reign on the previous two contests with Aldridge's accuracy, athleticism and sheer power too much for a stuttering Houston defense.

As many a great player has done in the past, Aldridge has found an extra gear in the postseason and his confidence must be sky high right now. 

With that confidence added to an impressive skill set and good 2013-14 form which saw the 6' 11" power forward average career high numbers Trail Blazer fans must be eager to see what he can do with home court advantage.

And, unfortunately for the Rockets, their nemesis has been particularly effective against their team during the regular-season.

In their four previous meetings this campaign, Aldridge averaged 26.8 points (3.6 more than his season average), and 15.5 rebounds.

And it seems like Aldridge is far from getting carried away with his achievements to date, instead focussing on lifting teammates around him as they prepare to go ahead this weekend:

"He’s very determined. He’s focused. He’s leading the team, not only with is play, but the way he’s handling himself in timeouts and in the locker room. He’s really playing as well as I’ve seen him play," said Stotts Tuesday.

The ability to stay grounded, while feeding of his obvious dominance will be crucial if he and his team are to progress deep into the playoffs in 2014.

And if they do manage to overcome the Rockets in the first round, Aldridge hasn't exactly performed badly against no. 1 seeds the San Antonio Spurs who potentially lie in wait in round two.

In three games against Gregg Popovich's team, Aldridge has averaged 21.3 points, shooting a .560% field goal percentage well above his .458% average.

So while it is unrealistic to expect the player to continue to hit 40-point plus games, his incredible start to the 2014 postseason is far from a flash in the pan.

While much of the build up to the postseason this year had been focussed on the achievements, and ability of veteran power forwards such as Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, and Dirk Nowitzki, Aldridge has benefited from the shallower lime light - going about his business in clinical, and exceptional, fashion.

He has set himself up to be the hero for the Portland Trail Blazers and every other team still in contention should be sitting up and taking notice if they hadn't been doing so already.

Portland Trail Blazers
NBA Playoffs
Houston Rockets

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