Around The World: April 21, 2014

by Casey Holdahl
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Trail Blazers: Aldridge Does It All As Blazers Beat Rockets In Overtime Of Game 1

“It was just one of those nights,” said Aldridge. “I got into a good rhythm and I started to feel good down low and I think my coaches and teammates did a good job trying to find me down low. I was trying to lead tonight.”

Trail Blazers: NBA Says Freeland, Not Howard Should Have Benn Called For Foul In OT

“To me, it seems like it should have been a no-call rather than a foul on either player, but the larger issue is that there were so many disputable calls or no-calls against both teams (the no-call of Howard elbowing Robin Lopez in the stomach being the first that comes to mind) that picking out that one play for review seems like an odd move by the NBA.”

Trail Blazers: Stotts, McHalte in The Huddle In Game 1

“McHale spend much of the first half imploring his team to get back on defense, while Stotts’ segments tend to be a bit more detailed in terms of instruction. There is one interesting clip in which it looks like Chandler Parsons, who was reportedly quite chatty Sunday night, says something to Stotts. Stotts turns back toward Parsons replying “I like my team.” And after how they fought back to win Game 1, how could be not?"

Trail Blazers: Call Of The Game: All Aboard The L-Train

“What didn't LaMarcus Aldridge do on this night? Portland's three-time All-Star set a new career-high and franchise-playoff record by pouring in 46 points. Did we mention that Aldridge pulled down a game-high 18 rebounds as well? And when the Trail Blazers needed buckets the most, it was Aldridge who delivered. After the two teams battled to a stand still in regulation, Houston reeled out six straight points in the first minute of overtime. But Aldridge always had an answer. The 6-10 Texas-native saved his best for last as he beat the shot-clock buzzer with his second three of the night. The Trail Blazers would use Aldridge's incredible performance to defeat the Rockets 122-120 in Game One of the series.”

Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers Vs. Rockets Game 1 Audio

“Without Aldridge on the floor, Damian Lillard took the leadership role. His three-pointer gave the Trail Blazers a one point lead over the Rockets, 119-118 with 44.5 seconds remaining in the overtime. In his playoff debut, Lillard scored 31 points.”

Trail Blazers: Transcript: Robin Lopez After Game 1

"I was just having a talk with Chandler. He’s like, “That’s your sixth foul. I’m like, “I know, man.” I just gave him a little tap. Nothing malicious. Playoff basketball, emotions are running high, you want to win games. A lot of passion. Passion involved."

Trail Blazers: Game 1 Notes & Quotes: Trail Blazers 122, Rockets 120

“LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard are the first teammates since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in 1992 to finish with 45 and 30 points in a postseason game.”

Oregon Live: Quick: The Drive That Motivates LaMarcus Aldridge, And Perhaps Keeps Him In Portland Long Term

"In other words, if Aldridge decided to re-sign with the Blazers, there’s a very good chance he could end up holding every major career mark in franchise history. Will that play a factor in his decision to re-up with Portland? “It will,’’ Aldridge said. “But I will cross that bridge when I get there. But I think it will.’’

Oregon Live: Trail Blazers Beat Houston Rockets With Help From Achilles' Heel: Defense

“We played physical, we played hard and it was consistent throughout the whole game,” Damian Lillard said of the Blazers’ defense. “Eventually, it kind of won us the game.”

Oregon Live: After Trail Blazers' Playoff Win, Oregon Receiver Keanon Lowe Is 'Trying To Convert Everybody' In UO Locker Room To Become Portland Fans

"He’s a huge fan, he’s trying to convert everybody in the locker room to be honest with you," UO quarterback Marcus Mariota said. "He told me that the first thing he did was make sure he watched the game yesterday."

Oregon Live: For Rockets' Patrick Beverley, 'A Blessing' To Have Chance To Play In Game 2 Vs. Trail Blazers

"Like I said, I know my body more than anybody else,” he said. “I know how I felt when I woke up this morning, that I was OK. Hearing (the doctor) agree with me was definitely a blessing."

CSNNW: Aldridge Still Feels Slighted, Will Earn Your Respect In The Playoffs

“It used to get to me more,” Aldridge admitted. “There was a point when I would let it bother me. But now I know who I am as a player and a person and nobody can tell me I’m not the best at my position. I think everybody has to believe they’re the best at what they do. If you don’t, then you shouldn’t be playing this game.”

CSNNW: The Biggest Mismatch Of Game 1? Stotts Over McHale

"How, specifically, did the Rockets expect to defend LaMarcus Aldridge? Surely they didn't expect inexperienced and physically overwhelmed Terrence Jones to handle him by himself all night, did they? And did they ever talk about how Aldridge likes to go into the lane with his right hand from the left box? Did they think about a double-team a little earlier in the game? Or using Dwight Howard on him earlier? And what about that last play of the game? What the heck was Harden trying to do? And why not get the ball to Chandler Parsons a little more in the second half?"

Portland Tribune: Trail Blazers Lean On Their Leader

"Every guy on this team comes to me and talks to me … they believe in me and tell me I can dominate a game, so I'm always hearing that my teammates have my back," Aldridge said. "Those positive affirmations are always good for me. I've tried to tell the guys the playoffs (are) another level, another season. ... I wanted to lead in that way."

Rip City Project: Damian Lillard Proves He Can Step Up On The Big Stage: NBA Playoffs

"Lillard was the king of highlight and courageous plays in the clutch. He created a four-point play opportunity when he drew contact from Jeremy Lin with under 1 minute to go, showing that his basketball-IQ is beyond his years in the process. With 30 seconds to go he drew Terrence Jones up in the air on the shot fake, and hit the three to tie the game. He would then go on to keep the game alive for Aldridge’s tip-in that sent the game into overtime, throwing up a last second attempt of his own, and drawing Dwight Howard out to pressure him, leaving Aldridge open. These three plays in the final minute of the fourth quarter were the reason why Portland was still in the position to leave the Toyota Center with a win."

Blazersedge: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Houston Rockets Game Recap: Part 2, Individual Performances

“Matthews made Harden pay for his own defensive sins in the early possessions of the game, posting up and swinging around for the score or foul shots. The Rockets solved that fairly quickly and the practice ceased. It was a nice wrinkle but unlikely to become a dependable staple. Matthews will have a hard time making up for missing threes with any number of post-ups. But it's nice to know he has a go-to option for a possession or two.”

Ball Don't Lie: Joakim Noah Wins The NBA's Defensive Player Of The Year Award

“Noah earned it, and won the award in what turned out to be a landslide vote -- topping Hibbert by a 100 to 8 first place vote count. Storyline may have pushed him over the top, Joakim became Chicago’s focal point offensively following a season-ending injury to Derrick Rose and the trade of Luol Deng, and it was incredible fun to see the center whipping around passes from the elbow and high post as Chicago somehow made a run to the East’s fourth seed with D.J. bloody Augustin as the team’s leading scorer. And while Hibbert’s movement and work looks about the same, even as the Pacers crumble, he hasn’t gotten the same calls for whatever reason, and his work as a defensive rebounder has cost Indiana. Fouls and lack of caroms aren’t what Defensive Players of the Year are made of.”

Ball Don't Lie: Mike Woodson's Firing Ends One Strange, Tumultuous Ea For The Knicks, And Beings Another

“Woodson joined the Knicks in August 2011, one year following his firing after six years as the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks. He was brought in to serve as an assistant coach, and something of a defensive coordinator, on the staff of Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni prior to the 2011-12 season. D'Antoni resigned (under dubious circumstances) 42 games into that lockout-shortened campaign amid reported clashes with star forward Carmelo Anthony that helped quell Linsanity and short-circuit the most exciting era in recent Knicks memory. The spark that had made an expensive collection of mismatched parts into something exciting was gone, and the Knicks were once again a squad that seemed to be going nowhere. Woodson got them going somewhere.”

ESPN: Rick Adelman Announces Retirement

"I think it's time for me to step aside," Adelman said. "When I came here, we really tried to see if we could turn some things around and we made some strides. Not as much as we would have liked, but I think it's time for me to step aside and let someone else come in with this group. We're not that far away.”

ESPN: Fixes Clips, Grizz Must Make

"As counterintuitive as this might sound, the Clippers might have to live with allowing Curry to shoot more. By hedging hard on such a high pick, they leave themselves extremely vulnerable by giving Golden State too much space. Even with perfect secondary and tertiary rotations, the Clippers are most likely conceding a wide-open layup or 3 so long as the Warriors have the personnel to execute. These breakdowns not only give confidence to the opponents' offense ("everyone has it going" vs. just Curry), but they shake the defense's confidence in its own schemes. You start to see more freelancing and gambling, as players take it upon themselves to stop what's happening, but that just leads to more breakdowns and more open shots.”

ESPN: Ranking First-Round Upset Chances

"The Blazers, who needed a LaMarcus Aldridge tip-in to force overtime and a James Harden miss at the buzzer to secure a win -- not to mention a comeback fueled by intentionally fouling Dwight Howard -- were surely the least dominant Game 1 winner. There was still a lot to like about Portland's performance. Aldridge dominated the Rockets, becoming the third player since 1987 to score at least 46 points and grab at least 18 rebounds in the playoffs (per, and Damian Lillard took over the game down the stretch. The Blazers also did a nice job defensively against Harden, who shot just 8-of-28 from the field.”

ESPN: Opening Playoffs Weekend Rewind

"I suppose you're not going to let me split the vote between LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard despite the fact that they're the first duo with at least 45 points and 30 points, respectively, in a playoff game since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in 1992. So let's not overthink this and go with Aldridge, whose beastly 46 and 18 included 22 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Bonzi Wells Alert: Aldridge's 46 points established a new single-game playoff high for any Blazers player, eclipsing a 45-point game from Wells in 2003.”

CNNSI: Why Your Team Will (Or Won't) Win The Title

"The things that the Blazers do best offensively are very difficult to take away. LaMarcus Aldridge thrives on the tricky mid-range and post-up attempts that most defenses naturally concede. Damian Lillard, for his part, kills defenses with his ability to rise and fire at any moment. Both stars are tough to scheme for given that ability to swell in the gaps of conventional team defense — a capacity enhanced by Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez rounding out Portland’s best lineup within their respective supporting functions.”

CNNSI: Sager Heartened By Support From Popovich, NBA

"Pop saying he wanted me back and then promising to be nice? I was like, Oh, my God, that's unbelievable, what an honor," said Sager, whose exchanges with the curt Popovich have become a much-anticipated part of TNT's NBA telecasts. "But then I started thinking about it: If I come back and Pop starts being nice to me, it just wouldn't be right. I want him to go Serbian [Popovich was born to a Serbian father] on me."

SLAM: Post-Up: Zero Quit

“When you’ve got your best player playing like that, it fires you up,” Lillard said. “When he went out of the game, I felt like our team … had to have L.A.’s back and come through for him.”