Around The World: March 17, 2014

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Trail Blazers: Aldridge Out Versus Bucks, Questionable Versus Wizards

“A quiet day at the team’s facility in Tualatin with the Trail Blazers holding practice at home for the first time since leaving for a five-game road trip on March 6. Not too much to report other than Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts saying that LaMarcus Aldridge, who suffered a lower back contusion in the March 12 loss to the Spurs in San Antonio, will be out for Tuesday’s game against the Bucks at the Moda Center. Stotts also said Aldridge will likely be questionable for the upcoming game on Thursday against the Wizards.”

Trail Blazers: Power Rankings: Back To Where They Started In Week 20

“Even though they’ve endured tough loss after tough loss in the month of March, they still find themselves fifth in the Western Conference standings, which is, more or less, where they’ve been since before going 1-4 on the recently completed five-game road trip. The Warriors, after winning Sunday night’s game in Portland, are now 1.5 games behind the Blazers for the fifth spot, so Portland will have to get back on track, and quickly, if they want to avoid slipping deeper down the standings.”

Trail Blazers: Curry Shoots Down The Blazers At The Moda Center

“You can say trap him, but that opens up other guys rolling to the basket, opens up other three-point shooters,” said Stotts. “So I thought Wes (Matthews) did a good job on him towards the end of the fourth quarter. We did a good job on him in the first half. To be honest, I thought the shots he made in the second half were tougher than the ones he missed in the first.”

Trail Blazers: Notes & Quotes: Trail Blazers 112, Warriors 113

“Every loss sucks. Every loss hurts - even more so now coming off the disappointing road trip that we had and the way that we gutted it out in New Orleans to get a win that we needed against a team that we don’t have that much success against. To come back and to get up 18 against a tough team that’s playing desperate and right behind us in the standings, it’s upsetting. But it’s the NBA, we have to bounce back. We have two more at home before we go off on another road trip.”

Oregon Live: Quick: In The Process To Get Better Sunday, The Trail Blazers Were A Lot Like LaMarcus Aldridge

“I offer Aldridge’s incremental progress to set the tone, and to adjust your perspective as the Blazers head into the final 15 games of the season, a tone and perspective that would counter what every statistic and every instinct would tell you about this team heading into the stretch run.’’

Oregon Live: Trail Blazers' Allen Crabbe Keeping His Attitude Up Even As Playing Time Eludes Him

“You just have to make sure that when you get to the NBA, your attitude (is good),” Crabbe said. “You pout or anything, they don’t care about that up here. They just keep you in the position that you’re in. I just got to take this as an opportunity to get better so that one day, they’re going to have the faith in me to put me on the court and get some production.”

CSNNW: Two Technical Fouls In Fourth Quarter Of One-Point Loss Hurt Trail Blazers

“A whole lot of people are going to get worried about another loss to a plus-.500 team, a West playoff team, another close loss and, in general, lump this in with some other recent defeats. But I don't think that's appropriate after this game. The Trail Blazers played well for most of the night and lost at the end when Nic Batum missed a free throw. Folks, that isn't going to happen often. Batum is one of the best clutch shooters -- from the field and the line -- on this team. Stuff happens. But a one-point loss in a game like this is as much a product of bad luck as bad basketball. It wasn't as if the Blazers didn't execute down the stretch -- they did. That's how you get Batum on the foul line in the first place. That's how Damian Lillard gets a layup and what would have been a three-point play if his shot hadn't miraculously jiggled out of the basket.’’

Columbian: Blazers Week In Review, 3/17

"Nicolas Batum continuing to hit the glass is even more important with Aldridge out and his 22-point, 18 rebound, five assist performance could have been Batum's opus for the season. He logged 45 minutes, guarded Anthony Davis and helped push the Blazers all night in many ways. Only he and Minnesota's Kevin Love have had a game with at least 22 points, 18 rebounds and five assists this season."

Rip City Project: Nicolas Batum: The Rise Before The Fall

“Lately, his production has seen a spike. Since the All-Star break, Batum has had three career rebounding nights; setting a new high of 16 against Denver, breaking it with 18 against Atlanta four nights later, and tying it with a repeat 18 in New Orleans last night. He’s tallied double-digit rebounds six times and scored 15 points or more five times. All this is very encouraging, except for one thing: circumstance. I cannot discredit Batum entirely, nor would I want to, but these outlier spurts are correlated with the absences or restricted minutes of 3x NBA All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge.”

Ball Don't Lie: Kevin Durant: Kobe Bryant Is 'The Greatest Of All Time,' Kobe And Michael Jordan '1 And 1A'

“This will undoubtedly rub some readers the wrong way, as such statements always seem to. That's fine — rankings are, of course, a matter of personal preference, Durant's entitled to his opinion as to Kobe's all-time greatness, and the specific elements Durant's talking about (the breadth of Bryant and Jordan's skills, their commitment to technique, the variety of different things they could do offensively) might not dovetail perfectly with everyone else's definitions of "greatest of all time." There's still plenty of room to state cases for any number of other "1 or 1A" players, from Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson, to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson, to Larry Bird and Bill Russell, and any number of others in between. Your mileage may vary. Please feel free to argue this on a barstool to your heart's content this weekend, so long as I am not on the barstool next to you."

CNNSI: Suns' Gerald Green A New Player After Early Struggles Lead To Formative Experience

“What followed wasn’t a transformation so much as a simple shift in approach. Green is still a bombs-away shooter from the perimeter for better or worse, and not much of either a playmaker or defender. But he’s also cut back pretty dramatically on the kind of ball-stopping freelancing that had become his trademark, and quite clearly approaches his basketball work with a fundamentally different tenor. Even though Green hasn’t changed all that much as a player, he’s changed enough as a person and as a professional to make a tangible difference in his play.”

CNNSI: Jarrett Jack: 'Disgusting' Sleeved Adidas Jerseys Make Players Look Like 'Beach Police'

“We’re like the Beach Police,” Jack told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “You know those police who are on the beach with those bikes? They’ve got those little shirts with the shorts? That’s what we look like. Like we about to give somebody a citation.”

ESPN: Can We Trust The Clippers?

“This month, with Darren Collison replacing the injured Jamal Crawford (himself replacing the injured J.J. Redick, whose season could be finished) in the starting lineup, the Clippers have added the turnovers back to the mix. The result has been far and away the league's best in March, fueling the winning streak. They've allowed 92.8 points per 100 possessions, per NBA.com/Stats. Nobody else in the league is allowing fewer than 98.8 (the Chicago Bulls). That's coincided with Rivers working post-buyout pickups Glen Davis and Danny Granger into the rotation, improving the Clippers' depth.”

ESPN: Kyrie Irving Injures Left Biceps

"The Cavs' leader in scoring and assists, Irving went to the locker room late in the first quarter and did not return in a 102-80 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The All-Star Game MVP had two points and two assists, missing all five of his shots."

SLAM: Post-Up: The Unibrow Erupts

“Whatever Anthony Davis’ (career-high 40 points, 21 rebounds, 3 blocks) ceiling ends up being, I’m afraid to think just how high it will be. The 21-year-old freak of nature willed his team to an overtime victory Sunday night while becoming the first player this season and in his team’s franchise history to notch at least 40 points and 20 rebounds in a single game. According the Elias Sports, Davis is the 3rd-youngest player in NBA history to reach these numbers. In his last six games, the Unibrow is averaging an eye-popping 32.3 ppg, 14.3 rebounds and 3.0 bpg. That’s scary good.”

DIME: Five Incredible Stats From The NBA Season So Far

“Now that we’re nearing the playoffs, Hibbert is allowing 41.2 percent shooting at the rim, which is still incredibly impressive. However, it’s not uncomparable as it was early in the year. Now he has Robin Lopez and his 42.2 percent, as well as Serge Ibaka’s 44.5 percent, breathing down his neck.”

DIME: Year Of The Dragon: Goran Dragic Deserves Most Improved Award

“Despite playing without his injury-stricken partner-in-crime Eric Bledsoe for much of the season, Dragic has led the surprising Suns to a record of 38-28, has kept them in playoff contention throughout the season, and now sit just one game back of the eight seed in the Western Conference. (To put it in perspective, the Suns would be the three seed in the Eastern Conference.) Yet, without Dragic, Phoenix would be living in the basement in the conference, just as many basketball experts anticipated heading into the 2013-2014 campaign. ”