Around The World: March 25, 2014

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Trail Blazers: Rip City Report: Episode 12

“We’ve got our first road-recorded edition of the Rip City Report podcast with Joe Freeman of The Oregonian and myself, Casey Holdahl, of ForwardCenter.net and Trailblazers.com cover a whole range of topics from Portland’s play in the last 10 games, their 0-2 start to the road trip, when LaMarcus Aldridge and Joel Freeland might return from injury and whether there’s any danger of the Blazers missing the playoffs completely.”

Trail Blazers: Running The Break

“He's crashing the boards in a way he's never done before. And while not having LaMarcus Aldridge out there grabbing double-digit rebounds a night certainly helps, that's only part of the different. More than anything, he's trying harder to get rebounds because he knows someone has to with Aldridge out of the lineup. It's also not as if he's hunting uncontested rebounds, which is a fairly common practice, particularly for big men who don't get to touch the ball on offense very often. Batum is actually out there fighting for rebounds.”

Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers Assign Allen Crabbe To Idaho Stampede

“Crabbe, 21, is averaging 2.1 points, 0.3 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 5.1 minutes in 14 games for the Trail Blazers this season. Acquired by Portland in a draft day trade with Cleveland, Crabbe was the 31st overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft out of California.”

Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers Vs. Magic Preview

“The Trail Blazers (45-26) are hoping to avoid their eighth loss in 11 games after falling 93-91 at Miami on Monday. Portland stormed back from 17 down in the fourth quarter, but Damian Lillard's potential game-tying layup with just over a second to go was blocked.”

Trail Blazers: Notes & Quotes: Trail Blazers 91, Heat 93

“I don’t know if there’s a moral victory there. We won that one. We had that one. It was really (a) self-inflicted loss. Like I said earlier, we were pretty loose with the ball. We made a lot of turnovers early on that otherwise would have made it a much more competitive match. Whether it was the guards or myself on the other end of the pass. There were a lot of factors. A lot of easy mistakes.”

Trail Blazers: Another Comeback Falls Short In Miami

“I got a good look,” said Lillard. “I got past (Heat guard Norris Cole), got to the rim. I tried to float it over the top of Bosh. I really thought it was going to get over him. He met it pretty high up there and made a good defensive play.”

Oregon Live: Trail Blazers Visit Reeling Orlando Magic: About The Opponent

"They've lost nine in a row. They've played 11 games in March — and lost 10. And the lone win came against the Philadelphia 76ers, who are threatening to set the NBA record for most losses in a row. Since the All-Star break, the Magic are 3-14."

Oregon Live: Trail Blazers Playoff Picture: Even With 0-2 Trip Start, Still A 99 Percent Chance Of Making Playoffs

“The Blazers have one thing going in their favor in their final 11 games. According to playoffstatus.com, they have the easiest remaining schedule in the West based on winning percentage. Portland's remaining opponents have a combined 48 percent winning percentage."

Rip City Project: What Would It Take For The Trail Blazers To Miss The Playoffs

"Heck, after tonight the Mavericks will be four games behind if they lose to the Thunder and the Trail Blazers beat the Magic like they are supposed to. Yet, nothing happens exactly as it is supposed to in the NBA, so don’t get too comfortable. The clock is ticking for everyone, but it’s ticking much faster in Dallas than it is in Portland. The Trail Blazers would have to fall off an even steeper cliff than they have already, continue to slide after Aldridge returns, be the only team between 5th and 8th to do so, while the Mavericks topple the best teams in the NBA night after night in order to miss the playoffs. This time next week, we won’t even have to worry. Probably."

Rip City Project: How Will Playoff Opponents Adjust To The Trail Blazers

“In a sense, it might be an advantage that the Blazers are in a state of disarray at the moment. A few months ago, the Blazers would have been pretty easy to plan for. Stay home on shooters, box out hard on Aldridge and Lopez, run right at Mo Williams on offense, and run straight at the rim. Today, the team looks different. They’ve got all sorts of rotation uncertainty, and Terry Stotts has been throwing lineups at the wall for a month and a half now. While this is certainly not a good thing–who wouldn’t rather be the Spurs?–there is an element of surprise to the playoff Blazers that could throw an opponent in the playoffs. The Spurs went 3-7 over their last 10 last year.”

Ball Don't Lie: Despite Conflicting Reports, Derrick Rose Will Not Return To The Chicago Bulls This Season

"Far less important but still worth discussing, is Rose’s impact with the team, should he come back for the postseason. Chicago dominated the exhibition frame last fall, going undefeated, but the Bulls looked absolutely terrible with Rose in uniform for the regular season, shuffling off to a mediocre record while he shot 35 percent from the field alongside those 3.4 turnovers per game. Rose and his teammates looked hesitant and unsure after a full 2012-13 season that featured Joakim Noah initiating most of the offense."

Ball Don't Lie: Ex-NBA Player Quinton Ross On incorrect Reports He Was Dead: 'It Was A Tough Day, Man'

“A collective shudder went through the NBA-watching world on Monday when The New York Post reported that former NBA player Quinton Ross had been found dead in Queens, N.Y. Shortly thereafter, the shock of learning that the 32-year-old wing had died was replaced by a very different kind of disbelief — at the revelation that the Post had gotten the story wrong, and that the dead man found "stuffed into a trash bag that was hidden in a patch of weeds midway between the water and the boardwalk at Beach 40th Street" in the Far Rockaway section of Queens was, in fact, a different person. His name was Quynton Ross."

CNNSI: The Fundamentals: Examining Anthony Davis

“Such dramatic change in Davis’ second season puts him way ahead of his developmental curve, and perhaps positions him to be a more overtly dominant offensive player than many anticipated. The pick-and-roll success was a given; players as long and lithe as Davis tend to give opponents fits when utilized on the move, and from his first day in the league Davis was deadly when aimed toward the basket. It’s the other flourishes that have improbably brought Davis to the brink of the league’s top 10 in scoring: The isolation play, the catch-and-shoot accuracy, the quiet aptitude from the low block. In a year’s time Davis has gone from a specialist of sorts to a more broadly applicable scorer, the kind of jump which then gives the Pelicans a world of room to experiment with different kinds of complementary players. It’s one thing to have a potentially dominant defender as a cornerstone piece, but quite another to build around one of the league’s most promising two-way players.”

ESPN: Should Spurs Be Title Favorites?

“Here are the ages of their three best players in June: 38 (Tim Duncan), 36 (Manu Ginobili) and 32 (Tony Parker). I get that their minutes-weighted average is not that high thanks to Kawhi Leonard and suddenly-Jamal-Crawford-like Patty Mills, but shouldn't we be a little skeptical that the Duncan-Ginobili-Parker trinity has enough left in the tank to make back-to-back Finals runs? I picked the Heat over the Clippers this preseason, and I'm still feeling better about that pick or a Heat-OKC Finals than a Spurs encore. You're saying 2013 is more for real than a fluke. Talk me out of this. It feels wrong to be in this corner."

FiveThirtyEight: The Hidden Value Of The NBA Steal

"Most people vastly underestimate how much a player’s box score stats are a function of that player’s role and style of play, as opposed to his tangible contribution to his team’s performance. A player averaging one more point per game than another doesn’t actually mean his team scores one more point per game as a result of his presence. He may be shooting more than he should and hurting his team’s offense. Similarly, one player getting a lot of rebounds doesn’t make his team a good rebounding team: He may be getting rebounds that his team could have gotten without him."

SLAM: Post-Up: Knicks Blow It

“The Knicks looked great during their recent eight-game winning streak, but they quickly turned back into the Knicks everyone has gotten to know in letting the Cavs take this one. With Jarrett Jack (season-high 31 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds) playing out of his mind, Cleveland came back from a 17-point deficit to keep New York from closing in on the eight seed. When the Knicks were fighting back late in the game after giving up their double-digit lead, Jack made five straight points for the Cavs, keeping the Knicks at bay. Raymond Felton (14 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds) has really been a hindrance defensively for New York. Carmelo Anthony (32 points, 8 rebounds, 12-12 on free throws) had a big game but had a bad offensive foul in the closing seconds. ”