Around The World: April 22, 2014

by Casey Holdahl
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Trail Blazers: LaMarcus Aldridge On The Dan Patrick Show

“Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge was a guest Tuesday on the Dan Patrick Show and things got a bit silly, to put it lightly. Patrick asks Aldridge about his 46-point, 18-rebound performance in Game 1 versus Houston, but that’s about where the discussion of basketball ends. The rest of interview is Patrick goading Aldridge on various subjects like Houston’s defense (or lack thereof), how many televisions he has in his home (and if he can stay there when he visits Portland) to whether he would start a team with Kevin Durant or LeBron James. I went ahead and transcribed it for you, but this is an interview that is best listened to.”

Trail Blazers: Stotts Finishes Sixth In Coach Of The Year Voting

“Stotts received two first-place votes, one from Bill Oram of the Orange County Register and the other from Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Rice. He tallied three second-place votes courtesy of The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman, Mark Followill of Fox Sports and Trail Blazers radio play-by-play man Brian Wheeler. His six third-place votes came from ESPN’s Jon Barry, Bob Cooney of the Philadelphoa Daily News, George Blaha of Fox Sports Detroit, Brenda Brown of the MSG Network, Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star (and former Columbian Trail Blazers beat writer) and Stacy King of Comcast SportsNet.”

Trail Blazers: Williams Doesn't Give A Damn And Batum Is Better For It

“Everybody has a role on our team,” said Williams. “I just kind of saw it in (Batum) the first half, wasn’t aggressive, thought Chandler Parsons was eating him for lunch. I just had to let him know at halftime because I know he’s better than that.”

Oregon Live: Quick: The Speech That Resurrected The Trail Blazers And Revealed Their Character

“I said ‘We have played this hard, for this long, at this record, and talked about this for this long … and we are pissing it away. ’’’ Matthews said. “ I said ‘We will all regret this if we don’t make it. But we have 10 games: we are not safe. We are not guaranteed. These teams are right behind us. We have no tie breakers with anybody, which means we have to win.’’

Oregon Live: Trail Blazers Survived Game 1 With Little Production From Mo Williams, But Will Need More From Sixth Man To Win Series

“His leadership, just his presence, I thought was huge in Game 1,” Lillard said. “He really held me accountable in that first game and kept my mind fresh about time and score and (how to) control the game. I thought he helped us a lot in that ways.”

Oregon Live: Rockets Look To Get James Harden Going, Slow LaMarcus Aldridge In Game 2 Vs. Trail Blazers

“The start of the season, people were doubling him, and. L.A.’s going to make the right plays,” Blazers point guard Damian Lillard said. “We’ve got a lot of shooters on the perimeter, make the extra pass and eventually the ball will swing around and we’ll get good looks.”

Oregon Live: Hack-A-Howard Successful For Trail Blazers In Game 1 And Terry Stotts Makes No Apologies For It

“Like I said before the game, it’s situational,” Stotts said. “If I think it’s in our best interest to do it, we will. I had no qualms about using it going into the game, and I feel the same way now.”

CSNNW: Rockets React To The Howard Foul That Shouldn't Have Benn

"Last time I looked, they didn't ask me to make any policy, and so I will not comment on any policy," McHale said when asked his thoughts regarding if the league should, in fact, come out and admit a mistake regarding officiating.’’

CSNNW: For One Night, The Pressure Is All On Houston

"If they win Game 2, though, it puts that pressure right back on us. We would have to go home and win Game 3. We've got to get our guys to understand the magnitude of this game. To win a Game 2, we've got to put ourselves in a position to give ourselves all the chances win in the world to win the game. It's tough to win against teams like this. But if we put ourselves in a position to win, that's all we can ask for. You don't want to be like the Clippers and Golden State -- they didn't give themselves a chance to win in Game 2."

CSNNW: Williams Knows Bench Must Play Better In Game 2

“Offensively, I didn’t play well but we won the game,” Williams said. “Obviously if I do have a good game offensively, it gives us a lift. It takes pressure off of L.A. and Dame. They don’t have to have those big games like they did. But on games when they do play big like that, on the offensive side, I don’t hurt us as much. They’re going to make adjustments on L.A. and I know I’m going to have to be productive on the offensive end for us on Wednesday night.”

Columbian: Aldridge Ready To Cause More Problems For Rockets

“I like winning and I feel like great players are always tied to winning,” he said. “A lot of guys have scored points but only certain guys have won and scored points. If I can win a championship then I think my body of work ... will mean more.”

Portland Tribune: Blazers Forward Thomas Robinson: No Complaints About Year 2 In The NBA

"Defensively, I was active," Robinson said. "I got to the glass. But I got a better performance in me. My stat line would have been if I hadn't missed those two little bunnies, but I won't do that again. I know that's there for me. I can keep getting that all series."

Rip City Project: How Do Dwight Howard And James Harden Look Now?

"Also good news: even showing Howard the threat of a double seems to fluster him. He got around Lopez as easily as we expected, but if someone was waiting there, he’d force up a tough reverse layup and miss. Stotts did some clever things, like I hoped he would, to confuse Howard, and only once did it totally bite Portland in the butt. Even if the doubler was Matthews or Lillard, the extra presence would usually force a miss. I’m not totally convinced this is sustainable; Portland ordinarily refuses to double in the post, and it could simply be that Howard and the Rockets are ready for it."

Blazersedge: Playbook Breakdown: Can Rockets G Patrick Beverley Stop Blazers G Damian Lillard?

"If Beverley is unable to guard Lillard effectively, the Houston backcourt will likely be in for a long night. Lillard struck when the opportunity presented itself in Game 1, probing when the defense collapsed on Terry Stotts' aforementioned gameplan. If Lin, Harden or Parsons is tasked with defending Damian Lillard, Stotts might just change his strategy altogether and feed the second-year guard from the start."

Ball Don't Lie: Lance Stephenson's Planned Adjustment For Pacers-Hawks Game 2: 'Gotta Punch More'

"On the other hand, though, merely throwing more punches is unlikely to be enough of an answer for the Pacers; work-rate's fine, but a higher proportion of those shots need to be power punches, and they need to connect. More effective work in the half-court — like, for example, looking to make more frequent hay out of successful sets like these — would be nice. So, too, would be getting the desired effect out of switching All-Defense wing Paul George onto Teague for at least parts of Game 2. And with all this talk of punching, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the MMA-gloved David West and famed MMA trainee Roy Hibbert, who have to produce more than 16 points on 19 shots when given the chance to work against Paul Millsap, Pero Antic, Mike Scott or Elton Brand on the block, especially in the early going, if they want to seize control of Game 2."

Ball Don't Lie: Clippers' Game 2 Rout Of Warriors Only Intensifies Heated Rivalry

"It's very intense right now," O'Neal said. "Everyone wants to win. Everybody is looking for that blood. This league is about trying to smell what the weakness is. I don't care if it's the scorekeeper – there are going to be scenarios where you are trying to find an edge and keep yourself going."

Ball Don't Lie: Grizzlies Rebound From Furious Thunder Comeback, Even Up Series With OT Win

“The Thunder don't need to be ashamed of their performance, because a few different bounces would have given them a memorable win with one play — Durant's shot — that figures to be a signature moment of this postseason regardless of the game's result. Nevertheless, the Grizzlies were the superior team in Game 2. While Durant will get deserved attention for the four-point play and finished with 36 points, Memphis made him uncomfortable and forced a decidedly inefficient 12-of-28 shooting performance. Westbrook helped pick up the slack in the first half, but he finished with an 11-of-28 shooting line and made several out-of-control mistakes in key moments. As a team, OKC shot 39.8 percent from the field, so it's safe to say the Memphis game plan worked.”

ESPN: Dwight Howard: Have To 'Go To Work'

"We have to play inside out, play their bigs and make it a long night for those guys," Howard told the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday. "I have to demand the ball, get it and go to work."

ESPN: Biggest Threat To Heat In East Now?

"Because it's so difficult to tell exactly where the biggest problem is. Is it Roy Hibbert's lack of effectiveness? Is it Paul George and Lance Stephenson not encouraging ball movement? Is it passive play from George Hill? Is it off-the-court chemistry that's a problem? Does Frank Vogel have an answer? I mean, when you've got this many potential issues, I'd say concern should be at the highest level possible.”

ESPN: Time To Go Small Is Now For Pacers

"We just have to get certain guys under control as a team," Pacers center Roy Hibbert said after their Game 1 loss. "I'm sure we'll look over film … if I'm the main culprit in terms of being the weak link on defense because they have a spread-five lineup. I guess we'll have to adjust."

ESPN: Should The Pacers bench Hibbert?

"If Hibbert isn't contributing on defense, and he's an inefficient presence on offense, it's tough for Vogel to keep him on the floor. At some point, backup center Ian Mahinmi might become a better option. The Pacers outscored Atlanta by five points during Mahinmi's 17 minutes of action, despite the fact that every other Indiana reserve had a negative plus-minus.”

Grantland: NBA Playoffs Winners And Losers, So Far

"Aldridge played the game of the postseason so far, and the game of his life, in Portland’s incredible Game 1 win in Houston. He is clearly healthy, and his game reflected that renewed vigor. He pushed for deep post-ups and jump hooks instead of settling for long jumpers, and when he saw Houston (kind of) giving him pick-and-pop jumpers, he mixed things up with drives to the rim and hard rolls.”

CNNSI: Nets May Not Need Paul Pierce's Clutch Heroics Against Raptors

"This is how Brooklyn pulled off one of its worst shooting performances of the season — not with ill-advised chucks off the dribble, but by taking good, balanced shots and suffering for it all the same. Toronto’s closeouts were sloppy to the point where this should have been a problem; not often will Teletovic, Marcus Thornton and Joe Johnson — all 38-percent shooters or better — combine to go 0-for-10 from beyond the arc, particularly if the Raptors remain so delayed in their recovery out of pick-and-rolls and the like. Thus far Toronto has opted to hug tightly on the wings while drawing help responsibility from its bigs — an arrangement that tends to leave openings for any shooter manning the power forward slot.”

CNNSI: Doc Rivers Exhibits his Fire As Clippers Rout Warriors In Game 2

"A humorous sound bite took on a more serious tone as O'Neal ventured closer to the Clipper bench and Rivers shouted in his direction. They engaged in an extended argument, drawing a double technical foul, though Rivers seemed to do most of the talking. He was right that he didn't make any shots Monday night, but he clearly took a couple. "Me and Jermaine are very close, but not tonight, not during the game," Rivers said. "We were born on the same day, two Libras, two stubborn fools." Rivers didn't need to motivate the Clippers. They were inspired enough. In a rare first-round blowout, they scored 105 points through three quarters, opening up a 32-point lead, and sending their starters to the bench for good. The 138-98 final score was the largest margin of victory in the club's playoff history, with the most points in the club's playoff history."

SLAM: Post-Up: Counter Attack

“A well-timed Mike Miller three, Zach Randolph’s 25 points (eight of those coming in OT), 14 points in 14 minutes from Beno Udrih, a double-double from Mike Conley (19 points and 12 assists), and strong defense especially from Tony Allen gave Memphis the edge in Game 2."