Around The World: April 14, 2014


Trail Blazers: Stotts, Players Give Initial Thoughts On Playing Rockets In Playoffs

“It’s the West. We don’t care who we’re going to play, it’s going to be tough anyway. Houston is a good team, a great team. They’ve got a good group of players. We match up pretty well with them. We’ve had good games, tough games (against Houston), 1-3. It won’t be easy. It is going to be fun. Excited finally for playoffs to start because we wait too much for that, now almost three years. So ready to start.”

Trail Blazers: Blazers Assured No Lower Than Fifth Seed With Overtime Win Versus Warriors

“I think that’s pretty exciting,” said Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez of the first-round matchup versus the Rockets. “We’ve had some close ones with them. We won a game, we had one that could have gone either way. I think it’s a good matchup for us. I like it.”

Trail Blazers: Amick: Lillard's New Adidas Deal Third-Largest In NBA

“And while Lillard and his representation, Goodwin Sports Management, are the big winners, those of you who would like to see the Trail Blazers get more national attention have to be pretty happy with this news. That goes double if you’re hoping to own a pair of signature Damian Lillard sneakers, which one would assume would be in the works if his new endorsement is really in the eight-figure range.”

Trail Blazers: Power Rankings: Better Than They Started In Week 24

“And now, in Week 24, the Power Rankers are having their last regular season say about a team that has won eight of their last nine games and are coming off a dramatic overtime victory versus the Warriors. All in all, it’s a good way for the Trail Blazers to enter the playoffs after it looked for a brief moment that they might end up on the outside looking in.”

Trail Blazers: Dwight Jaynes Interviews Neil Olshey

"I think it’s a window into what type of people LaMarcus and Damian are. I think, probably even more important than whether or not they can deliver on that promise, is the fact that they’re willing to try. It’s an endorsement of our culture. It’s an endorsement of the things we’re trying to do here. It’s a belief in our mission.”

Trail Blazers: Call Of The Game: One For The Ages

“After trailing by eight at the break, Portland made one of their patented third-quarter runs and took a 76-75 lead into the final frame. But that's not where the momentum stopped. The Trail Blazers received two buckets apiece from Nicolas Batum and Mo Williams before Damian Lillard delivered a trifecta, forcing Golden State Head Coach Mark Jackson to call for time. Lillard's triple gave the Trail Blazers their largest lead of the night, 87-77, but Portland had to go into overtime to secure this victory. Six players scored in double-figures and the Trail Blazers prevailed for their 53rd win of the season, 119-117.”

Trail Blazers: Notes & Quotes: Trail Blazers 119, Warriors 117

“The game meant a lot. Both teams wanted the fifth spot it and it kind of had that type of feel. I haven’t played in the playoffs so I can’t say that it felt like a playoff game, but it definitely felt like the game meant something to both teams.”

Oregon Live: Quick: Will Sunday's Shaky Play Of Damian Lillard Be Held As An Example For The Trail Blazers To Learn?

“It was addressed as a team, because it wasn’t like I was just out there handing them the ball. You know, (Stotts) just said we didn’t end the half like we needed to, and that was it. It wasn’t like it was a huge deal. Nobody made it a big deal. I’m sure I’ve heard it over and over. We talk about it every game, that every possession we have to value. This is probably the first time this has happened, where I’ve fouled at the end of the half, and the two turnovers … so it’s not something I’m going to stress over and be like ‘Oh, I’ve got to get better at it.’’’

Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers' Free Throw Shooting Is Best In League And Franchise History

“With one game left in the regular season, the Blazers are shooting 81.6 percent at the free throw line, which ranks No. 1 in the league. If the Blazers don’t have some sort of foul-line disaster in their season finale against the Clippers on Wednesday, they will finish No. 1 in the league for the first time in franchise history and will break the franchise record of 80.4 percent set in 2010-11.”

Oregon Live: Trail Blazers Win 'Best Game Of The Year In The NBA' Vs. Golden State Warriors To Lock Playoff Date With Houston Rockets

“Great for confidence, for morale, just for everything,” said Aldridge who finished with 26 points, seven rebounds and three steals. “I thought it shows the importance of playing together, staying together. There were times tonight where we could have kind of separated, but I thought guys stayed together and every game is going to be tough like that in the playoffs.”

CSNNW: Fueled By Challenge From LA, Matthews Took Matchup Vs. Curry Personal

"It was a clip of a flashback when he was first here. He was guarding [Curry], fighting through screens, blocking shots... And I was like 'Man, that's the old Wes.' He was like 'What do you mean, the old Wes?' So he took it personal."

Columbian: Blazers Outlast Warriors In Overtime

“He make him work the whole game,” added Batum — who finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds — on Matthews’ defense on Curry. "He missed two or three shots at the end because he was tired. That was because of him. His work paid off at the end.”

Blazersedge: Blazers Talk X-Factors In Upcoming Playoff Series With Rockets

“People will say [the key to the series will be] me against [Chandler] Parsons. I think so. We've got two stars, they've got two stars, so we're the number three option. We can be the key of the series."

Ball Don't Lie: Wizards Sign 10-year Old Girl With Kidney Cancer To 1-Day Contract TO Make Her Wish Come True

“Jackson also received with a personalized No. 10 Wizards jersey and some brand new game shoes, as well as the chance to watch the game with her family from owner Ted Leonsis’ luxury box — but only after she was the first "player" announced during the Wizards' pre-game introductions. She even got to see a big Wizards win, 104-91, providing a perfect end to an extraordinarily memorable night.”

ESPN: Dissecting Wolves' Clutch Problems

“If you have followed Martin's career, you may have noticed that most of his teams are horrible in the clutch. When dissecting the Timberwolves' crunch-time woes earlier this season just before the All-Star break, I discovered that only two teams in almost two decades (since the NBA StatsCube database began tracking this stuff in 1997) had been blown out in final-minute-game-within-three scenarios like this season's Timberwolves: the 2008-09 Sacramento Kings and 2010-11 Houston Rockets.”

TrueHoop: Why The Playoffs Need The Phoenix Suns

“But it goes a bit deeper than “the Suns shoot 3s." This is a quirky team, one that forces more traditional teams to contort uncomfortably. Not many teams play a 3-point shooter at center like Channing Frye, forcing opposing slow-footed 5s to plod far beyond the friendly confines of the paint. Not many teams can go five-out, stretching defenses apart by playing five 3-point shooters at once. Not many teams can roll out two slashing, hyperathletic, elite combo guards."

CNNSI: Top 10 Game-Winners Of The 2013-14 Season

“Portland set up with seven seconds left in a tie game at Quicken Loans Arena, opting to turn the game over to Lillard, who was guarded by Alonzo Gee. As the clock hit three seconds remaining, Lillard unleashed his quick stepback move, pulling up for a three-pointer with one foot on the large center court graphic. The shot swished home with 0.4 seconds remaining, giving Lillard 36 points on the night, and he “celebrated” with a silent staredown that has become known as the “Dame Face.” Blazers 119, Cavaliers 116."

SLAM: Post-Up: Intensity Picking Up

“The biggest shot of the night came from Matthews. With his team down 114-113 with a few minutes remaining, Matthews shot long while fading away to his right but got the shooters’ roll. After Thompson responded with a trey of his own, Aldridge calmly knocked down a midrange jumper from the top of the key to give his team the 118-117 lead. When he steps into that shot with rhythm, it’s almost automatic. After Damian Lillard (13 points, 5 assists) split a pair of free throws, the Warriors had once more chance to send this one to another overtime. And again, Curry was not the one to take the shot and was the distributor. After a beautifully drawn-up play from Mark Jackson, Iguodala had a wide-open look from deep for the win…but hit back rim. Batum had a big game on the boards as the Blazers outrebounded the Warriors 46-38. This was without a doubt one of the best finishes of the season as the Blazers have now guaranteed they will play the Rockets in the 1st round."