Around The World: March 14, 2014
“I’m better than I was. I’m not back to normal, I’m still on crutches. The area was so traumatized that it’s just taking time to get everything back active and moving good. But I’m definitely better than I was. I couldn’t even sit down my first day, my first night. I couldn’t sit like this, so this is improvement.”
“But wait, there’s more! Lillard will be doing a signing at Compound Gallery (107 NW 5th Ave.) in Portland on from 7-9 PM Wednesday, March 19 with fellow adidas-sponsored athlete John Wall, who will be in town with the Wizards to take on the Blazers at the Moda Center on March 20. You get VIP access into the signing if you purchase items from the Florist City line, though the quality of the items is reason enough to cop the whole collection, in my humble opinion.”
Trail Blazers: Perspective Gained During Trip To St. Jude's
"It's always important to be able to have something to bring you outside of this life," said Matthews. "Going to St. Jude just puts everything back in perspective for you. Any time you get a chance to make somebody's day, whether they know you or not -- I guarantee those kids didn't know who we were -- but it was a different face for them, something special for them. In turn, it's something special for us."
Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers Vs. Pelicans Preview
“With LaMarcus Aldridge expected to miss at least two games, Portland will try to snap a four-game losing streak Friday night when it visits Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans.”
“Robin Lopez, who started 82 games last season in New Olreans, could draw the defensive assignment of trying to slow Davis. In two of the four games on the road trip, Lopez has picked up a pair of quick fouls in the opening quarter – something to watch. Since trading Lopez to Portland last summer, the Pelicans have been lacking any impact or consistency at the center position with Alexis Ajinca and Greg Stiemsma. Ajinca has racked up 4.3 fouls per game over the last six games and has struggled with foul trouble all season. Stiemsma is averaging just 2.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in 41 games.’’
“I think we are a lot better,’’ Wright said Friday. “When we went to San Antonio, I think we were a little down, but I think we are more upbeat now. We talked things out and tried to fix things and come in here with more of a focus on the task at hand, and not worry about what happened the last three or four games. It’s about today.’’
"I need to get an opportunity on the floor, that's it,'' Robinson said. "I'm not doing anything different. I did what I was supposed to do when I came in from jump, so coach gave me a bigger leash.''
“I don’t know if it will be emotional, [but] it’ll definitely feel weird, feel different,” Babbitt told CSNNW.com this morning at shootaround. “Watching these guys play for three years -- Wesley Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nic Batum. It’s going to feel weird being on the other side, but at the end of the day, it’s just another game. So, that’s how I’m approaching it.”
“The Trail Blazers cannot allow an almost off-the-charts great start to be the measuring stick for their play the remainder of the season. They must find their true identity, with expectations to match, and ignore everyone else's perception of who and what they are."
Blazersedge: Improving The Starting Lineup
“The Blazers don't need Batum to be fantastic. They don't need him to be a star. (Though I can't shake the feeling that he's waiting for an opportunity to be fed the ball as the hub of an offense, not stepping up fully in any situation short of that.) They just need him to eliminate momentum-robbing possessions. Batum provides so many things for this team that him taking a quarter off is like leaning against a wall that, unbeknownst to you, is no longer there. No matter who you are, you're going to lose your balance that way. When the team was running well that was annoying. At this point it's a significant detriment.”
“We understand why Mayo might not be enthused. The Bucks have long been a franchise without a proper leader, because while owner Herb Kohl and Hammond (two good guys, it should be noted) both pay lip service to wanting to remain competitive, the continuous series of bum moves these two have cobbled together over the last few years (or, in Kohl’s case, far longer) has created a situation with a middling ceiling and a worst case scenario that … well, they’re in it. And though Milwaukee may earn the top pick in this June’s NBA draft, Bucks fans remain fearful of Hammond and Kohl leading a rebuilding movement that they didn’t want all over again."
Ball Don't Lie: Terrence Ross Says NBA 'Groupie' Culture Is A Thing Of The Past
“Whether this reality is due to security or some other change is open to debate. Ross could be right — teams do far more to protect their players than they ever did in the past. On the other hand, the world of professional sports can be wildly misogynistic, so it could be that the extent of groupie activity was always exaggerated. Perhaps the players were always more complicit in seeking out these supposed temptresses than they ever cared to admit.”
"When the time comes, playoff time, that's when it starts to come," he says. "A team plays the percentages and says, 'He's not a guy who can score as much this year,' so they'll leave me open or I'll have more opportunities, and then it'll come. That's why I don't press. I know it'll come. I know the angle, I know where we're trying to get. I'm fine where I'm at, as long as we're continuing to win games."
“Anthony Davis has long since established himself as an essential player for the Pelicans, but is there a designation beyond that? Monty Williams has had his hands tied of late with Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson nursing long-term injuries, Eric Gordon periodically sidelined, and Tyreke Evans popping in and out of the lineup as various ailments demand. That desperation has turned Davis into a first, second and third offensive option — a treat in itself when there’s not much other reason to watch the Pelicans. It also doesn’t hurt New Orleans from an an entertainment standpoint that Davis has essentially been mandated to stay on the court as long as possible, to the point of averaging 41 minutes over the past five games.”
SLAM: Post Up: Bulls On Parade
“Mike Dunleavy (21 points, 4-6 from 3, 7 rebounds) caught an elbow from Chandler Parsons in the first half while taking a charge and needed stitches to close the bloody cut. It didn’t faze him, as he returned and outscored the Rockets all by himself in the third quarter, 18-16, as the Bulls blew the game wide open. Joakim Noah fell an assist shy of recording his fourth triple double of the season, finishing with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists. The Bulls bounced back in a big way from their flat loss to the Spurs earlier this week and shot 50 percent on the night, knocking down 14-24 from long range. Kirk Hinrich poured in 19 points on 5-6 shooting from long range, while Carlos Boozer tallied 18 points and 7 rebounds.”
Houston Chronicle: McHale: Noah Should Be Defensive Player Of The Year
“I’ve been playing against Joakim since Adidas camp back when we were 15, 16 years old,” Howard said. “I’ve seen the difference in his game. The one thing that hasn’t changed is his intensity level on the court. He’s always going after it every play, trying to get every loose ball, stuff like that.”
“Allen and Battier are two of the Heat's snipers who serve as floor spacers for the Big Three, so if they're not firing on all cylinders, opponents will have an easier time packing the paint and making it tough for James, Wade and Bosh to attack. And what's fascinating about this is that Erik Spoelstra has abandoned using Allen and Battier next to the Big Three this season. Last season, it was the Heat's third-most-used lineup and a go-to lineup in crunch time, outscoring opponents by 20 points every 100 possession in the 134 minutes together.”
“The regular-season imbalance that I'm most curious to see tested in the postseason is Houston vs. San Antonio. The Rockets are 3-0 against the Spurs, and one of those wins was without James Harden, who averaged 30 points and six assists and shot 60 percent in the other two games. My knock on the Rockets is that they haven't been through the playoffs as a group yet. Whom or what will they turn to if they fall behind in a series? What if their 3-pointers aren't falling? The Spurs are looking unbeatable these days with their full squad on the court, and as we saw during the Finals last year, all of the regular-season minutes the reserves play while the stars are resting can pay dividends in the playoffs (I'll reserve at least one trip to the podium for Patty Mills right now).”
“Thus, I bring to your attention this remarkable story from Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News, who informs us that the Spurs' Big Three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are poised to pass the Showtime era Lakers threesome of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper for the third-longest run of regular season games together -- behind only the Celtics' Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish (729) and the Pistons' core of Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer and Vinnie Johnson (711).”