While teams like the Spurs, Thunder and Clippers find themselves atop the Western Conference in the NBA like many people expected, the surprise of the season may be the efforts of the Portland Trailblazers. After their win on Wednesday night against the Bucks, the Blazers have won eight in a row and have a 10-2 overall record, which is good enough for second best in the West.
The Blazers streak hasn’t necessarily been a cakewalk. Instead, they have given the Spurs their only loss on the season, and they also have wins against Boston, Brooklyn, and a pair of back-to-back wins against the Kings. They’ll get a huge test on Friday when they play Chicago, before traveling to Golden State for a Saturday tip-off.
LaMarcus Aldridge has been a huge spark for the Blazers this year. The 6’11” forward has long been a franchise like player for the Blazers, and he seems to finally be putting things together so far this season. During the first twelve games, Aldridge has averaged 22.6 points and 9.2 rebounds, both are better than his career highs of 18.4 and 7.8, respectively. Second-year player Damian Lillard has also followed up his fantastic rookie campaign, averaging 20 points and 6 assists per game so far this season.
The Blazers are in the same division as the Thunder, who will always be a tough challenge to dethrone. But if they can keep up the pace they’ve been on, they could do just that. And considering the youth that the Blazers bring to the table, this could be a trend that looks to continue for years to come.