PORTLAND — Something intangible shifted for LaMarcus Aldridge in mid-December.

PORTLAND — Something intangible shifted for LaMarcus Aldridge in mid-December.

The Trail Blazers played Dallas on Dec. 15, and while they lost 103-98, Portland's 6-foot-11 power forward had 35 points. As it turned out, it was the start of the best stretch of Aldridge's career so far.

"That Dallas game — I've said it so many times — that Dallas game, something just clicked," Aldridge said. "Ever since then I've been playing well."

And it shows no real sign of abating. The Texan is averaging 26.3 points and 9.7 rebounds since Dec. 15. He has 10 games this season with at least 30 points, eight of those games coming since All-Star guard Brandon Roy was sidelined with sore knees. Overall, he's averaging 22.3 points and 8.9 rebounds.

"We're playing through him," guard Andre Miller said. "The game is coming easy to him and we can get him transition points, post him up, get him to the free throw line and (have him) knock down jump shots, so he doesn't have to play too much with his back to the basket. And when he does he's making plays for everybody else."

Aldridge has twice been named the Western Conference's Player of the Week, most recently for a stretch from Feb. 7-13 during which he scored at least 36 points against Chicago, Toronto and Detroit.

Personally, Aldridge's life has also shifted. He became a father last summer. This season, his mother, Georgia, has been battling cancer and he's dedicated his season to her.

Paced by Aldridge with key contributions from Miller, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews, the injury-addled Blazers (32-24) have won a season-high six straight games and sit at fifth place in the Western Conference standings. The team is a season-best eight games over .500.

Portland begins its push toward the postseason tonight when it hosts the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.

"I think we're in a great mindset, a great place right now," Aldridge said in his typical low-key style. "We've won six in a row. Guys are playing great."

Aldridge, the second overall pick in 2006 acquired by the Blazers in a draft-day deal with the Chicago Bulls, is well ahead of where he was last season, when he averaged 17.9 points and eight rebounds per game.

"He's really evolved in his all-around play," Matthews said. "For most players that's the next revolution: Can he make others better? He's really doing that."

Aldridge's ascent coincided with the knee trouble that has plagued Roy.

Roy played for less than 30 minutes and scored just four points in the Dec. 15 game against Dallas. He sat after that, with the Blazers finally announcing on Dec. 30 that he would be out "indefinitely."

Roy, averaging 16.6 points per game this season, eventually had arthroscopic surgery on both knees on Jan. 17. He has said the problem is too little cartilage — meaning he's essentially playing on bone against bone.

The former NBA Rookie of the Year was the sixth overall pick in the 2006 draft, also acquired by the Blazers in a draft-day deal.

The question seems to be whether the Blazers will change their style once Roy comes back. Portland should also soon see the return of center Marcus Camby, who also had arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-January.

Roy has indicated he may come back for the Lakers, but coach Nate McMillan said he wouldn't decide until after the shootaround today.

Aldridge believes having Roy back is nothing but a positive.

"We've missed him," Aldridge said. "We've been using Nic (Batum) at the four, and a lot of guys have been playing a lot of minutes. So getting Brandon back should be big for us."