Portland, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - LaMarcus Aldridge was unexpectedly in the Portland lineup on Saturday night and the All-Star power forward helped his team snap a two-game losing streak.
Aldridge scored 26 points with nine rebounds in the Trail Blazers' 103-96 win over the Washington Wizards.
The Blazers announced earlier in the day that Aldridge will hold off having surgery on a torn radial collateral ligament in his left thumb. He was originally slated for surgery next week and expected to miss 6-8 weeks.
"I felt OK," said Aldridge. "There were a few moments where I got hit and it was kind of tender but for the most part it was OK."
That decision proved to be beneficial for Portland.
Damian Lillard deposited 20 points with seven assists and Wesley Matthews added 19 points in the win.
John Wall led the Wizards with 25 points and nine assists, while Paul Pierce registered 19 points and Bradley Beal chipped in with 16 points.
"We just have to learn to be more consistent," Pierce said. "We're a defensive team, we're a team that moves the ball, we're a team that doesn't turn the ball over much. When we stick to those things, we usually have a good outcome."
Matthews converted successive 3-pointers to push the Blazers in front 87-85 with 3:29 left in the game. Lillard then made two free throws prior to his trey that capped an 11-0 run.
Washington pulled to within three after a Nene layup, but he missed the ensuing free throw. Nene committed a shooting foul of Meyers Leonard on a 3- pointer, and Leonard nailed each of the free throws to make it a 97-91 game.
Lillard gave those free throws right back, however, fouling Wall from beyond the arc on the Wizards' next possession.
Aldridge followed with two from the charity stripe with 45.7 seconds left for a 99-94 edge. Wall kept Washington close with a layup out of a timeout, but Dorell Wright pulled down a big offensive rebound with 16.9 seconds on the clock, then Lillard made two free throws to essentially seal it.
Pierce scored Washington's first five points as it started the game with a 13-2 spurt. The Wizards led by as many as 14 in the first quarter and held a 32-20 edge entering the second.
Wright hit a 3-pointer to begin a 13-5 run for Portland that cut its deficit to 41-36. Pierce knocked down a trey to close the scoring in the half, giving Washington a 55-45 lead at the break.
Aldridge's mid-range jumper gave the Blazers a 69-68 lead with under two minutes left in the third. Washington made two field goals in the final six- plus minutes, but Andre Miller supplied the last of those two which helped the Wizards to a 70-69 lead heading to the fourth.
Pierce became the fourth player in NBA history, joining Ray Allen, Reggie Miller and Jason Terry, to make 2,000 3-pointers ... Washington has lost two straight ... Portland went 20-for-20 from the free throw line ... Wright scored 10 points off the Blazers bench.