Each time that LaMarcus Aldridge went to the free-throw line late in the game against the Washington Wizards, the Trail Blazers' forward was showered with a chant of “MVP, MVP,” from the hometown fans.
Just two days before, Aldridge had announced he was going to have surgery to repair a ligament in his left thumb and would miss the next six to eight weeks.
But in a dramatic turn, he announced Saturday that he'd play through the pain. And hours later, he had 26 points and nine rebounds in the Blazers' 103-96 victory over the Wizards.
Even the public address announcer at the Moda Center beckoned the crowd to cheer him for a curtain call as he finally left the court....