LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers Take Down Minnesota Timberwolves: A Fan’s Reaction

It's almost seemed like a joke geared toward April 1, but the Portland Trail Blazers absolutely throttled the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night. I certainly didn't expect the game to become so one-sided, especially with Kevin Love coming off one of the best months of his NBA career. The Blazers played far above their heads, though, coming together in a way that we haven't seen for a while, winning a game that pushed the team up the Western Conference ladder once again.

The 119-106 win was very satisfying, especially with every starter for the Blazers scoring in double figures. LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 26 points on just 10-for-17 shooting, adding 8 rebounds during just over 37 minutes of work. Nicolas Batum had 24 points, Wesley Matthews scored 18 and J.J. Hickson had 15 from his nice new starting role. It was an impressive showing all around, and the Blazers finished the game shooting 52.3 percent from the field.

Once again the up-and-down play of the Blazers has turned in a positive direction, taking the team out of last place in the Northwest division and within three games of the No. 8 spot in the West. It's a cruel tease too, because we (as fans) keep thinking that the team will start focusing on the 2012 NBA Draft, but instead gives us a glimpse of how the team could easily qualify for the postseason. At 25-28 now, it is still going to take some work, especially with just 13 games left in the regular season, but it's certainly possible.

A tough game against the Utah Jazz comes on Monday night (April 2) and then an easier one against the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday (April 4). I think both games are very winnable, especially because they take place at the Rose Garden, but I have placed my faith in the team many times before this with depressing results during the 2011-12 season. I am going to allow my hopes to rise again though, because I still think that this roster has enough talent to do some damage if it can just find a way to qualify for the NBA Playoffs. Now is the time to really turn on the afterburners though, because time is running out to make that run.

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*Ryan is a Northwest bred sports fan that has been a Portland Trail Blazers fan for years. He has high hopes that the Blazers can make it to the Western Conference Playoffs again this year.

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Updated Monday, Apr 2, 2012