Around The World: March 13, 2014
“Aldridge will miss at least the next two games against the Pelicans on Friday in New Orleans and versus the Warriors Sunday back in Portland. He will be reevaluated next week, after which more might be known about his status going forward. He recently sat out five games with a left groin strain. Veteran forward Dorell Wright started in Aldridge’s place in a small lineup, with the Trail Blazers responding by going 4-1 in those contests.”
“We’re going to fight,” said Wesley Matthews, who finished with 13 points, four rebounds and four assists in 36 minutes. “Unfortunately we played a few games without (Aldridge), so we’re accustomed to that kind of style of play. We’re going to fight every game, we’re going to compete. Now it’s just time for us to make our own luck. Get the 50/50 balls, turn these games around, stop waiting for it to happen and just go make it happen like we were doing earlier in the year.”
Trail Blazers: Notes & Quotes: Trail Blazers 90, Spurs 103
“The aggressor in every fight wins. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a fight before, but the aggressor in any fight wins. 17 games left, and it’s going to be a dogfight every game. The aggressor is going to win.”
“Aldridge, the Blazers' three-time All-Star, will miss the next two games with a low back contusion suffered in Wednesday's loss to the San Antonio Spurs. He will be re-evaluated next week. Williams, Portland's leading scorer off the bench at 9.4 points per game, is out two weeks after injuring his right hip in Tuesday's loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. ”
“The Trail Blazers players and coaches trickled in, most of them catching sight of the All-Star for the first time since they last saw him: crying, wincing and being carried off the court here in San Antonio after a fall heard around the Western Conference.’’
“Crabbe had 16 points and five rebounds in 37 minutes, 52 seconds for the Stampede, the Blazers' NBA Development League affiliate, in a 111-110 loss to the Santa Cruz Warriors.’’
“In order for Portland to add a free agent to help offset the rash of injuries the team has endured as of late, they would have to waive a player being that they already have 15 guaranteed contracts on its roster. It's another valuable opportunity for young guys such as Thomas Robinson, Meyers Leonard and Will Barton to receive meaningful minutes as opposed to signing an inferior player from the D-League or a player off the street."
“I just felt like it was something that needed to be said,” Lillard responded when ask why he initiated the dialogue. “At some point, it’s up to the players.”
Rip City Project: Portland Trail Blazers Schedule: Home Stretch
“For as bad as March will be, April luckily throws a bone to the sure to be fatigued Trail Blazers. Five of the Blazers’ final six games take place in the comfort of their very own Moda Center, a welcome respite for weary legs. Additionally, the lone away game is against the lowly Jazz, who will honestly probably be trying to play to avoid injury. If the team needs a late season push, the schedule is more than giving them the opportunity."
Blazersedge: Why The Blazers Aren't Succeeding
“The Blazers are no longer winning the three-point battle with any consistency. The trend started before the All-Star break with Portland's defense collapsing to prevent a constant leak of paint points. The gains they made in that area--they're now 29th in the league in points in the paint allowed instead of dead last--have been offset by losses beyond the arc. Portland's three-point defense, once near the top of the league, now sits in the mushy middle. Worse, Portland's own three-point shooting has dipped to "Top Ten" instead of "All-World". Opponents are closing out better but the Blazers are also missing wide-open triples. That kills an offense that's predicated on hitting those shots to spread the floor for passes and quality isolation attempts from the All-Stars. Tonight's game was an extreme example, but it's hard to ignore Portland going 4-21 from the arc (19%) while San Antonio shot 11-24 (46%). The Blazers need to invert those percentages and they're just not doing it.”
“Redick is shooting 39 percent from long range this season and averaging a career high 15.7 points per game despite playing fewer than 29 minutes a contest. In many ways 2013-14 has been a career year for the 29-year old, but these back (and, previously, broken right hand and torn right wrist ligament) issues have contributed to a second straight frustrating season for the scoring guard. Los Angeles’ offense hasn’t suffered in his absence, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want the floor spacer back for a playoff run."
“It had the opposite effect on Wall. With the Wizards desperate for postseason action and Wall needing to justify the hype that preceded his pro career, the max contract actually seems to have accelerated Wall's development into a star. Much of that was likely the result of several things coming together for the Wizards, including an improved supporting cast and a lack of injuries and distractions. However, it also seems like paying Wall forced him to take responsibility, if only because his teammates now saw him as the person who had to take charge. He was pushed into that role in a way that might not have occurred if not for the new deal.”
“I can understand the temptation to reward one of the game’s many other outstanding superstars, but let’s not use Paul’s injury as a vehicle for the unheralded. At this point Paul has played in over 70 percent of the Clippers’ games this season and counting. Los Angeles fared well enough in his absence, but when Paul plays the Clips outscore their opponents by 10.9 points per 100 possessions — a mark that would lead the league by a mile. He is the ingredient that elevates L.A. from very good to very dangerous, and for that he rarely receives enough credit.”
“With their win over Miami, the Nets are now 7-1 since Kevin Garnett was sidelined with back spasms, the latest impressive stand from a stubborn team that simply refuses to roll over. No one would have blinked if the Nets had packed it in after Brook Lopez suffered a season-ending injury or the team started 10-21, but Brooklyn continues to plod forward despite a slew of injuries. It has taken on perhaps the most ironic underdog role of all time, considering the team’s gargantuan, league-leading $180 million-plus payroll.”
SLAM: Post Up: Nets Cool Heat
“Paul Pierce stepped up his game, as he’s known to do when going against LeBron and the Heat, popping off for 29 points, including 17 in a third-quarter explosion. The Nets were outshot by Miami, 48.5 to 43.6 percent, but made up for it from deep. Mirza Teletovic was a factor, hiting 3-5 from 3-point range for 17 points as the Nets hit 12-29 from 3. For Miami, Dwyane Wade had 22 points (8-11 shooting), but cost the Heat precious seconds by dribbling out the rebound that secured their final possession instead of calling timeout.”
“When Rondo’s contract expires after the 2014-15 season, reports have stated that he could be looking forward to free agency as he is “intrigued” by testing the free agent process. Again, Rondo being the face of a Celtic franchise with a lot to prove without Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett may keep him in the Irish green just to show everyone that he could win and still be an elite player without them. But if Rondo really has his eyes set on testing free agency next summer, the Celtics have to keep his name in mind to shop this offseason. He’s their most prized player–any team desperate for an elite point guard would want him.”
True Hoop: Phil Jackson Doesn't Know Everything
“That has to be a big part of why Jackson could mean so much to a team like the Knicks. The common denominator of their dominant commonness has been bad front-office decision-making, specifically one high-profile overspend after another. There's no arguing James Dolan is an owner without a clue, determined to bludgeon the competition not with his insight, but with his wallet -- a method that, for a bundle of league-wide cap reasons, always makes teams difficult to improve and almost never ends in titles. ”
“The Bulls have gone 11-4 in their last 15 games entering their nationally televised matchup against the Houston Rockets on Thursday night, and center Joakim Noah has drawn some MVP consideration. Though Noah has unquestionably been Chicago's most valuable player this season, he might not be the most important part of the team's overachieving success. Instead, that honor might belong to coach Tom Thibodeau.”