Around The World: March 19, 2014

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Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers Grind Out Overtime Win Versus Bucks At Home

“Tonight we were happy with the win – we’re always going to take a win, ugly, pretty, it doesn’t matter,” said Matthews. “But we’re not happy with the way that we played. Credit them, they played hard. We knew they were going to do that. Since the trade deadline, they’ve been a pretty good offensive team but that doesn’t excuse our performance. We’ve got to come out with urgency because every game matters for us and that’s how we’ve got to play going into the post season.”

Trail Blazers: Podcast: Rip City Report Episode 11

“On this week’s edition we discuss Portland’s issue winning close games, whether the team is struggling with a lack of confidence, playing without LaMarcus Aldridge and Dorell Wright as a starter and why director Wes Anderson needs to stop kidding himself. There’s a little something for everyone.”

Trail Blazers: Call Of The Game: Overtime Showtime

“Like a great defensive back baiting the quarterback into an interception, Matthews jumped Nate Wolters' pass, which was intended for fellow point guard Brandon Knight, and raced down the court where he dropped a perfect behind-the-back pass to Damian Lillard. Once the pass reached Lillard, the Slam Dunk participant finished a one-handed dunk in emphatic fashion.”

Trail Blazers: Notes & Quotes: Trail Blazers 120, Bucks 115

“Any time you win, it’s a confidence boost. I mean, if we had won the last game, that was a close game, that would have been a good win for us. It happens and we came out on top this time.”

Oregon Live: Milwaukee Bucks' Ramon Sessions On Damian Lillard: 'That's Why He's An All-Star'

"He was quiet all the way down to the end of the fourth quarter almost," Sessions said of Portland's second year guard. "I think he maybe had 7, 8 points, but he got it going. That's why he's an All-Star. That's why he's going to be a great player in this league for a long time."

Oregon Live: Quick: Trail Blazers Need To Rediscover Their Beauty, And Their Chemistry

“We’ve emphasized it, we’ve reminded them about it,’’ Stotts said after the game. “A lot of times, the passes have to be there. I think it’s balancing being aggressive for your shot and being aggressive to pass. Basically, passes are there when you create a problem -- either a double-team on the post or a double-team on a pick-and-roll. Then the ball gets moving around. If we are not creating that opportunity, with two (defenders) on the ball, or not getting out in flow, then the opportunity to make that pass are not there.’’

CSNNW: Lillard Believes He Could Obtain Platinum Status When He Drops First Hip-Hop Album

“If my profile continues to increase, I think I can go platinum with my music,” Lillard told CSNNW.com. “Not to knock anybody else who has done it, but I can actually rap. I have a story to tell. It’s not going to just be about basketball. I have more content than that. With the way I know I can get down, and the producers that I’ll align myself with, there’s no reason not to think I couldn’t go platinum. Shaq proved it’s possible.”

Columbian: Blazers Notebook: Wright Helps Team Pick Up Tempo

"When LaMarcus comes back, that's going to be 36 minutes," said Blazers coach Terry Stotts before Portland's game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday. "We have to look at him (Wright) as the backup four especially with Joel Freeland being out. Because we are able to change the pace of play."

Rip City Project: Head Coach Terry Stotts' Late-Season Goals

“We already know that Stotts is a bit of an offensive wizard. He’s managed to create a top-four (or top-one, depending on whose version of offensive rating you use) offense while keeping LaMarcus Aldridge happy despite largely removing him from the spot that made him an All-Star–the left block. Nicolas Batum has turned into an excellent distributor in the Stotts offense, a development no one expected. The Portland system is a bizarre mix of individual initiative and team-above-all structure. Applauding a team for unselfishness is often missing the point. Most players are selfless, or at least aware that teams these days are smart enough to recognize selfish play. It’s mainly a team’s offense that opens up the passing lanes and allows unselfishness to shine through, and it’s been a huge part of Portland’s success.”

Rip City Project: Portland Trail Blazers, NBA Playoffs, And An Uphill Battle

"If home court advantage is already out of the picture, I think a Clippers matchup is a fairly palatable proposition. The Blazers are 1-1 on the season with them, and having watched both games in their entirety, I can assure you the Blazers can hang with them. On the year, the combined scores from the games are 233-234 (in favor of the Clippers), so only one point separates them right now."

Sole Collector: JBF Customs For Damian Lillard // Adidas Crazy 1 Retro

“I didn't want to do anything overly obvious like putting roses all over the shoes, so I blended my signature exotic leathers in a more subtle way. The red python was chosen because, as they say, roses are red. The stingray around the heel and stripes was chosen because it reminded me of water droplets on the petals. The paneling of the shoes was modified to give a more elegant look, with the long strips of suede extending from toe to heel like the stems of a rose."

CNNSI: The All Four-Year Team: Sticking Around College Forever Isn’t An NBA Death Sentence

“What this team might lack in top-to-bottom star power, particularly at the wing positions, it makes up for with virtually every other desirable quality. The immediate takeaway is how they are a collection of circular pegs that fit circular holes. Each of the five starters is a natural fit at his position, with a skillset that more than meets the demands of the modern game. Hand in hand with the fit issue is the overall level of polish. Duncan’s technical skill would stand out from any group, but he’s joined by both Lillard and West, two All-Stars who are both very comfortable in their own skin.”

CNNSI: Al Jefferson, A Low-Post Whiz, Brings Sunshine To Charlotte

“Jefferson's decision to accept Charlotte's $40.5 million deal was less surprising than the club's decision to offer it. Of late the Bobcats have designed rosters to help their lottery chances more than their playoff prospects. Whether that constitutes tanking or rebuilding is a matter of semantics. But as roughly a half-dozen teams followed the Charlotte Way and stripped to the studs in anticipation of the most vaunted draft since Derrick Rose was at Memphis, the Cats reversed course and broke ground on reconstruction. They had been burned by the lottery before and weren't as enthralled as others with the incoming class. But more than anything they were just sick of losing. "Our owner is one of the most competitive people who ever walked," says Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins. "At some point you have to figure it out."

CNNSI: Examining The Five Players With The Best Low-Post Repertoires In The NBA

"Consider that unenviable situation for a moment. After Gasol makes his catch on the block, his defender anticipates using almost all of his strength to avoid a direct back-down. Yet as soon as any pressure is applied to keep Gasol from going middle, he wheels around baseline for an uncontested score. This is a space on the floor where even the slightest mistake can result in a high-percentage look, yet at once Gasol requires that a strong, sizable opponent at once guard against a potential move toward the middle, a quick spin, a turnaround jumper, and/or a slow back-down. Gasol’s toolbox overfloweth, as if it weren’t tough enough to guard a player who can simply overpower many opponents on his way to the rim."

True Hoop: The Spurs' Great H-E-B Commercial Legacy

“There have of course been other fun commercials in Spurs history. The American Express one with Tim Duncan is a personal favorite, if only because the herculean Kevin Willis has a very sneaky cameo in it. And there's also the Mister Robinson's Neighborhood one David Robinson did with Charles Barkley. And the Sprite one with Tim Duncan and Grant Hill where they're doing odd jobs during the 1998 NBA lockout. And the shaving one with Tim and Robinson together shortly after the Spurs drafted Tim. But maybe the best is the above Pizza Hut one, where David Robinson is talking to Dennis Rodman about how Rodman needs to open up and allow himself to be more weird. ”

ESPN: Andre Iguodala To Miss Three Games

“Warriors coach Mark Jackson said that Iguodala has been dealing with tendinitis in his knee for more than a week. He also said Bogut "tweaked" his ankle in Sunday's win at Portland and didn't feel right after going through Tuesday's morning shootaround.”

ESPN: Why Rebuilding Can Work In The NBA

“The Spurs stand as the exception to this rule. Thanks to the quality of San Antonio's coaching and scouting, along with the way Gregg Popovich has managed the minutes of his stars to extend their productive careers, the Spurs keep cranking out 50-win seasons. This is their 15th consecutive such campaign, a streak broken only by the 50-game post-lockout season in 1998-99. Count that season -- when San Antonio won the equivalent of 61 games en route to the title -- and the franchise has done so all 17 years of Duncan's Hall of Fame career.”

Boston Globe: Rajon Rondo Needs Lots Of "Patience"

“If a guy is not under contract, obviously he wants to play well every game,” Rondo said. “He wants to make all his shots, do all the intangibles. I’m not necessarily saying that a guy under contract won’t do all those things, but obviously it’s amplified when you’re playing for your life or you’re playing for your career.”

SLAM: Post-Up: LeBron Goes Off

“The Cavs made things interesting down the stretch, but LeBron James was simply too much to handle back at Quicken Loans Arena. He put up 43 points on just 19 shots—including 25 points in the first quarter—carrying the Heat to victory.”