Around The World: April 10, 2014

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Trail Blazers: Interview With Carrie Brownstein Of 'Portlandia' On Acting With Athletes, Close Games, And Clinching Playoffs

“But I think, as a fan, we enjoy it no matter what but we also want to win and there is just something about the Blazers were you really feel like they’re loving what they get to do. It’s been a really exciting season, it’s such a great team, a great group of guys. I love when the bench comes in and delivers. Fourth quarters are always really exciting. Sometimes they’re nail-biters, but it’s been a fun year as a fan of the team. I hope that we can get through the first round of the playoffs. That’s my main hope right now. Whether it’s Houston or the Clippers, I would love to see us get to the second round.”

Trail Blazers: Blazers Get Wright To Defeat Kings

“That was crazy right there,” said Wright, whose only make of the night was the game-winner. “That was pretty cool right there, especially sitting over there being mad at myself for not making those shots the whole game and then Coach giving me an opportunity to go back out there. That was big time. It was a big win for us. I’m just happy I was able to knock it down.”

Trail Blazers: Podcast: Rip City Report, Episode 14

“On this week’s edition we discuss discuss the Trail Blazers clinching a playoff spot for the first time since 2011, the potential return of Joel Freeland and whether he changes Portland’s playoff rotation, which team the Trail Blazers matchup best with in the first round and answer fan submitted questions on the April 9 edition of the Rip City Report.”

Trail Blazers: Call Of The Game: Wright On Time

"DeMarcus Cousins calmly hit a pair of free throws to put the Sacramento Kings up 99-97 with just 14 seconds left to play, forcing Portland to call time. All season long the Trail Blazers have been nails out of the timeout, scoring on the majority of plays Coach Stotts draws up. And tonight was no different. To no one's surprise, the ball was placed in Damian Lillard's hands and the Sophomore Sensation drove hard to the bucket, drew a crowd, and found Dorell Wright all alone in the corner. The rest, as they say, was history. Wright splashed home the game-winning three which gave the Blazers the lead for good, 100-99."

Trail Blazers: Notes & Quotes: Trail Blazers 100, Kings 99

“Every win right now for us is big. That’s a good scrappy team, a young team. They’re going to keep fighting. Mike Malone I played for in Golden State so I know what type of coach he is. He wants guys to go out there and play hard and compete like they’re going to the playoffs as well. That’s what they did. I think we responded well. They made shots and were getting stops at the end, that’s a hard fighting team. They’ve got a lot of young good players so you have to give them a hand as well.”

Oregon Live: Trail Blazers Don't Practice Before Flying To Utah, Leaving Some Questions Hanging

“One thing we won't learn, then, is the status of reserve point guard Mo Williams. The team made a late pregame announcement Wednesday that Williams would be placed on the inactive list for its game against Sacramento. That came minutes after coach Terry Stotts did his pregame media session and said he planned to use his normal nine-man rotation.”

Oregon Live: Dorell Wright Rescues Trail Blazers With Game-Winner: The Clutch Play In His Words

“I told you,” Batum said to Wright, just before walking out of the locker room. “I knew it. I knew it was good.”

CSNNW: There's Not Such Thing As A Bad Win In The NBA

“First, Lillard showed supreme confidence in a teammate with the game on the line, something that is going to work for the entire team. When opposing teams look at video of this play they're going to know they can't totally sell out on Lillard, thinking he's not going to give the ball up. Aldridge, too, is going to know that the player who is supposed to be defending the forward in that corner cannot be as anxious now to cheat away and help on the pick-and-roll action. So ultimately, the Blazers are going to be able to spread the court better on this play, giving Lillard and Aldridge more room to work game-ending magic.”

Columbian: Playoff Position Focuses Blazers

"We said it early to start the year that it was different, something about us, something about this team. It was evident when we won those 11 (straight games)," said Matthews."

Portland Tribune: Portland Trail Blazers: The NBA Playoffs And A Date With The Houston Rockets

“He has handled it well,” Stotts says. “He continues to work hard. He’d like to play. Like we’ve told all the young guys, you never know when your number will be called. He’s staying ready, but there are certain times when frustration sets in. That’s human nature.”

Rip City Project: Three Major Reasons Why The Trail Blazers Should Rest Their Starters

“Although players like Damian Lillard and Robin Lopez who haven’t missed a single game this season seem invincible, they’re not. Tweaked ankles, back spasms, sprained knees – all occur with regularity in the NBA. It’s best not to roll the dice with the post-season so close at hand. If nothing else, a reduction in minutes all around would be nice; if for no other reason than allowing Lillard’s career-long perfect attendance record to go unmarred. Some players (LaMarcus Aldridge) could use the rest more than others, but all of them should be protected. Stotts preemptively sat Mo Williams last night against the Sacramento Kings. Williams was likely the first to be given the night off because he’ll be running the show more and more as other players get their turn to relax.’’

Ball Don't Lie: LeBron James: Kevin Durant 'Has Played MVP-Type Basketball' And 'It Would Be Great' If KD Won MVP

“ADurant has been damn near unstoppable offensively for the entirety of the season, a sure bet to score at least 20 or 25 every single night, while taking on an increased role as both a scorer and facilitator amid the multiple knee-related absences of All-Star running buddy Russell Westbrook. He's also posting career highs in effective field goal percentage (which accounts for 3-pointers being worth more than 2-pointers), assist percentage (the share of his teammates' buckets on which he notches a direct assist) and Player Efficiency Rating (an admittedly imperfect, but still useful, stat), while using more Thunder possessions and turning the ball over less often than he has in three years. He's doing the same sorts of things he did before, but he's doing more of them, and he's doing them better."

TrueOakland: The Warriors Comes Together Amid Turmoil

"Meanwhile, as the Warriors are falling apart behind the scenes, they just might be coming together on the court. With David Lee suffering nerve damage in his knee, the team has stumbled upon a potentially potent lineup of Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Green and Andrew Bogut. The lineup, which Bogut calls their "killer lineup," had played a grand total of 35 minutes before Sunday’s victory over Utah. It’s a lineup that includes the top two defensive wings in basketball according to defensive real plus-minus, a top defensive center and a pair of elite 3-point threats -- one of whom is arguably the best shooter in NBA history. "

ESPN: Rest Might Be Too Late For Pacers

“But I wanted to test it. So I looked at the top five players in minutes played for every team in the StatsCube database, which goes back to the 1996-97 season. We'll call these quintets the team's "heavy five." The Pacers' "heavy five" has played a sum of 12,606 minutes. Where does that rank in the league? Third most. Only the Portland Trail Blazers (13,341 minutes) and the Detroit Pistons (12,678 minutes) have a quintet that has logged more. (Notice, by the way, that all three of these teams have fallen off since the All-Star break.)”

CNNSI: Top 10 Dunks Of The 2013-14 Season

“While there wasn’t a defender to add a degree of difficulty, it’s not like this dunk is lacking in complexity. So many things could have gone wrong: George could have failed to complete the rotation, he could have over-rotated, he could have taken off from too far out, he could have gotten stuck underneath the hoop, he could have lost the handle on the way up, he could have easily snapped his attempt off the rim by missing wide left or right. Instead: absolutely flawless and totally precise, plus a smooth landing to boot."

SLAM: Post-Up: OKC Escapes Los Angeles

“Everyone has their fingers crossed for this series in the second round, right? The Thunder won out in a battle between the two teams vying for the 2-seed in the West, coming up big after the Clippers cut down a big lead in the fourth quarter. Russell Westbrook (30 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists) was everywhere for OKC all night. When things got tight in the fourth, he hammered home a dunk off of one offensive rebound, then grabbed another board off a miss by Serge Ibaka (15 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks) with 15 seconds to go to help seal it. Kevin Durant (27 points, 8-26 from the field) shook off a tough shooting night to drill a crucial 3-pointer as the Thunder struck back against the Clippers’ furious run."