The previous record holder, retired shooting guard Bonzi Wells, scored 45 points in an April 23, 2003, loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Wells' huge night in '03 wasn't enough to keep the Blazers from falling into a 2-0 hole in their first-round series, but the team did eventually rally to force a seventh game before bowing out.
Aldridge's huge performance was not all that surprising, as he entered Sunday's Game 1 with remarkable averages of 26.8 points and 15.5 rebounds in four previous appearances versus Houston this season.
The Rockets' inability to disrupt Aldridge's offensive rhythm became clear early on, as the native Texan rattled off 12 first-quarter points.
Then, following just four points in the second quarter, Aldridge returned from halftime with eight points in the third.
That was nothing compared to what he would do next, as the former University of Texas star dismantled the Rockets for 19 points in the fourth quarter, highlighted by a game-tying putback with just two seconds remaining to send the game to overtime.
Aldridge and point guard Damian Lillard incredibly combined for 30 of the Blazers' 33 fourth-quarter points, including the final 25.
Aldridge would eventually foul out with 1:04 remaining in the overtime period, but not before nailing a three-point jumper to eclipse Wells' record. The unexpected trey was Aldridge's second of the game, following a regular season that saw him make just three three-pointers in 69 games. As you'd expect, both of his threes came with the shot clock winding down, though in both cases he probably had time to pass.
When all was said and done, Aldridge had made 17 of his 31 field-goal attempts in a 46-point, 18-rebound performance, in the process leading his team to its first playoff victory since 2011.
Since the beginning of the 1985-86 season, only two other players—Hakeem Olajuwon and Dwight Howard—have put up 46 and 18 in a playoff game, and both are/were centers, and neither did it more than once.
Aldridge joins good company, leaving Rockets fans to wonder where that Dwight Howard was Sunday night. Howard had 27 points and 15 rebounds of his own, but he needed 21 field-goal attempts and 17 free-throw attempts to get there and was of little use when asked to guard Aldridge.