Around The World: March 24, 2014

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Trail Blazers: Shootaround Notes: Going Up Against Oden

“I’m very happy for him. He’s been through a lot. A lot. I was with him a couple of years. When I broke my shoulder I did my rehab with him so we talked a lot. I’m just happy for him. I know people get mad about him, but he had no luck. If it was up to him he would be on the court for the last four or five years. He worked hard to be back, to get back and he’s done it. He’s been pretty good so far. I wish him the best and wish him to stay healthy right now and do well with Miami. Not tonight. If he can wait until the next game, that would be cool for us. But seriously, really happy for him and proud of him because I don’t think many people could go through that and be back and keep playing. I don’t think a lot of guys could do it.”

Trail Blazers: Power Rankings: Middle Of The Pack In Week 21

“You get the feeling from this week’s Power Rankings that the opinion in regards to the Trail Blazers is pretty much set. Portland went 2-2 last week with home victories versus the Bucks (in overtime) and Wizards and while losing at home to the Warriors and being blown out by the Bobcats in Charlotte, which resulted in the Trail Blazers dropping one or two spots in all of the rankings.”

Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers Vs. Heat Preview

“A banged-up LeBron James will try to help the Heat climb out of their funk Monday night against the Trail Blazers, who will play a sixth straight game without LaMarcus Aldridge as they try to solve their road woes.”

Oregon Live: NBA May Move On From Sleeved Jerseys, Says Commissioner Adam Silver

"Ultimately, if the players don't like them, we'll move on to something else," Silver told Bleacher Report. "I don't regret doing it for this season. But it's intended to be something fun for the fans and the players. And if it becomes a serious issue, as to whether players should be wearing sleeves, we'll likely move onto other things."

Oregon Live: Trail Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge Will Not Play Vs. Miami Heat And It's Unclear When All-Star Will Return

"Aldridge suffered his injury March 12 at San Antonio, when he drove into the lane for a shot and collided with Aron Baynes, which caused him to crash violently to the court. He has not played since, missing five games in a row. The Blazers are 3-2 in those games, and — factoring in five games he missed in February with a left groin injury — are 7-3 without the player who was a borderline MVP candidate in the first half of the season."

Oregon Live: Stanford Alum Robin Lopez Enjoys The Final Minutes Of The Win Over Kansas

“Lopez would be the only watching the final minutes as Stanford pulled off the upset. As time ran off the clock, Lopez raised his hands and celebrated at American Airlines Center. Hopefully he will do the same after tomorrow's matchup with Miami."

Columbian: Wright Stuff For Blazers Without Aldridge

“I think it’s awesome because other teams are going to have to match up with us,” said Wright. “We can go either way we want to. I think coach believes I can go in there and try and make the four man who I’m playing against make tough shots and just battle him. That’s my main thing, to battle.”

Columbian: Blazers Week In Review 3/24

"Nicolas Batum’s continued work on the boards is still incredible. He’s been playing both forward positions more than normal and still carrying the same ball-handling and playmaking duties. He’s also had to score even more with Aldridge out and he has delivered their too."

Portland Tribune: More Peaks Than Valleys For Batum

“I’m weird,” he says, smiling. “I’m not a typical player. I’m a small forward, but 22 (points), 18 (rebounds), five (assists) and four 3’s? Weird.”

Rip City Project: Portland Trail Blazers: Redemption & Expectations

"The way I see it, most of those matchups would be coin flips under neutral circumstances. However; the coin was weighted with either a rusty Aldridge, a missing Aldridge, or playing on the road—sometimes all three. Of course we would like for Portland to persevere, but this is where we circle back to expectations. The Trail Blazers are better than they should be. A single-digit swing would have been enough to switch four of those L’s to W’s. So while, yes, “one loss is one loss,” the implications are less concerning than the empirical tally."

Blazersedge: Tanking In The NBA: A Broad Systemic Approach

“To the extent tanking is a problem, it's a weed sprung from a greater, interconnected ecosystem. Tanking didn't grow in a vacuum. It exists because to someone, somewhere it makes sense. Maybe the people to whom it makes sense are irrational. Maybe they're non-conformists or their rationale isn't acceptable. But what if it's not them at all? What if the system--meaning the entire NBA ecosystem and not just the draft lottery--leads to the conclusion that tanking is not only a smart choice but the only choice?"

Ball Don't Lie: Chris Bosh Sums Of The Sorry State Of The Miami Heat, Losers Of 7 Of Their Last 11: 'We Suck'

“It's worth noting, of course, that Bosh isn't immune from criticism here. His per-minute scoring, rebounding and shooting percentages have all dipped during the 11-game swoon, too, and many of the Heat's recent stumbles have featured strong outings from the opposing front-court players — Davis' big night, Boston getting 44 points and 13 rebounds from the Brandon Bass-Jared Sullinger-Kelly Olynyk trio, Houston getting 42 and 28 from the Dwight Howard-Terrence Jones combo, Kenneth Faried's 24 and 10 to pace the Nuggets, Joakim Noah slicing up the Heat defense for 20, 12 and 7, Tim Duncan and Boris Diaw wrecking shop, etc. — that Bosh and his fellow Heat bigs are relied upon to tamp down.”

CNNSI: Short Corner: Greg Oden’s Playoff Impact, Stat-Padding And More NBA Observations/font>

“Stat-padding is a fact of NBA life. Box score stats matter too much in the realms of coaching and contract negotiation for players to leave them on the table. It can be entertaining to a point. The shamelessness with which some players chase numbers is endearing in a way, honest if not honorable. Of all the ways to goose the numbers, though, none is more entertaining than the all-out abandon of free-throw rebounding. Nowhere else will you see defensive players go to such great lengths to compete with teammates for an otherwise uncontested board. A swingman might soar in from the perimeter to help build his all-around statistical profile. A power forward criticized for his lack of rebounding might look to pick up a freebie. The motivations are many and the result so often enjoyable, particularly when players on the same team engage in a war of tips to wrap up what should be an easy rebound."

ESPN: Top 10 NBA Players By The Numbers

"A couple of weeks ago, I felt that Durant deserved MVP but that James would get it by virtue of a stronger finishing kick. Since James' 61-point outburst, that hasn't really transpired, and it's now hard to see a scenario where Durant doesn't win MVP. Based on the metrics, it will be well deserved."

ESPN: J.J. Hickson Suffers Torn ACL

“Hickson is the fourth Denver player lost for the season to injury. Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee and Nate Robinson have all undergone season-ending operations.”