Around The World: March 31, 2014

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Trail Blazers: Blazers Win Third-Straight And First This Season Versus Grizzlies

“That’s something that’s been consistent actually over the past few games,” said Robin Lopez of Portland’s bench production. “Even when we didn’t come out with a win necessarily, we’ve been getting nice contributions from our bench. They’ve been getting a lot of experience and they’ve been proving themselves.”

Trail Blazers: Power Rankings: On The Come Up In Week 22

“Six days later, things seem a whole lot different. LaMarcus Aldridge has since returned and is once again playing at a high level, which lifted the Trail Blazers to wins in their last three games. They also got some help in the standings thanks to the Suns, Warriors and Grizzlies (natch) losing key games, and while they’re still in fifth, the likelihood that they’ll fall out of the Top 8 now seems slim. Things could take another 180 degree turn by next week, but for right now, it’s good times in Rip City.”

Trail Blazers: First Look: The Nicolas Batum Drinking Glass

“After tonight’s game against the Grizzlies at the Moda Center, everyone who has a ticket will receive one limited-edition Wesley Matthews drinking glass as they exit the building. The Trail Blazers have had a difficult time with the Grizzlies this season, losing the first two games by double digits, so maybe a Rip City glasses night is just what the team needs to turn the tide.”

Trail Blazers: Notes & Quotes: Trail Blazers 105, Grizzlies 98

"Honestly, they were just the aggressors tonight. We knew exactly what they were going to run. It was a great game plan defensively and they executed. We didn't get shots. They jumped out on us, made runs and made plays they needed to play. They were first to the 50/50 balls and, you know, they play well at home. So, you have to expect them to play how they play but we have to be better."

Oregon Live: Trail Blazers' Rotation Is Settled, And Now The Bench Is Starting To Produce

“It’s winning time,’’ Wright said. “I think everybody is happy with their role and understands their role. A lot of times when you are on a team you feel like you are in limbo. Like, ‘What do they want from me? What do I need to do?’ I think everybody understands that now. Myself being at (power forward) I know I’m going in as a (power forward) - not going back and forth between (small forward and power forward) -- so I know what I have to do. I have to go in there and be physical with the bigger guys, bang with big fellas, rebound, and make my shots when I’m open.’’

Oregon Live: Trail Blazers' Robin Lopez Has - Knock On Wood - Been One Of The NBA's Most Durable Centers

“He’s maybe the biggest part of our team right now,” Nicolas Batum said. “What he brings every night for us, sometimes you don’t see it in the stat sheet. You can say, ‘OK, he’s averaging 10 points and eight rebounds.’ But what he brings for us is really, like, 25 points and 15 rebounds. That’s how big he is.”

Oregon Live: Dorell Wright's Many Superstitions Keep Him Prepared For Trail Blazers

“I’m very superstitious,” Wright said after the Blazers’ 105-98 win over Memphis. “I used to be a baseball player, and you know how those guys are? I’m superstitious with a lot of things I do, and I want to do things the same each and every time, every day.”

Oregon Live: Quick: When It Comes To Recent Improvement, Mo Williams And Trail Blazers Aren't Splitting Hairs

“The biggest thing with Mo, why he is playing so well, he cut off that horrible haircut he had,’’ teammate Dorell Wright said. “Now he can see the basket. That has a lot to do with it. So I give big ups to his barber for giving him the peanut, John Legend head look.’’

CSNNW: Sunday Was A Big, Big Day For The Trail Blazers

“And things couldn't have worked out better as Portland took care of its own business and sat back and watched Phoenix and Golden State implode against lesser teams. Oh sure, nothing was clinched and the Trail Blazers aren't clear of trouble by any means. But the Blazers made a statement Sunday night.”

CSNNW: Aldridge "Woke Up" Back Contusion

“I’m a little sore, definitely,” Aldridge said after the game. “I woke up my little contusion, but I’m ok.”

Columbian: Blazers Week In Review 3/31

"Bravo to LaMarcus Aldridge for coming back. He’s helped out on both ends even though he says he’s still not 100 percent. His presence on the court has created more open looks for his team and his length and size has been helpful to Portland’s interior defense. "

Portland Tribune: Blazers Moving In Right Direction As Playoffs Approach

"At any point in time, we can go to the block," said Wesley Matthews, who contributed 15 points and five assists. "He's going to make something happen. Or he might command a double-team, so we get an open shot on the back side. If they play him one-on-one, we like those odds."

Ball Don't Lie: Nick Young On Lakers' Possible Playoff-Tilting Upset Of Suns: 'Welcome To The Player Haters Ball'

“You wouldn't give L.A. very good odds of "getting" a Portland Trail Blazers team that knocked off the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday and that has won three straight games since getting All-Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge back from injury. Then again, you also wouldn't have bet on the Lakers getting monster play from just-taken-out-of-mothballs center Chris Kaman (a season-high 28 points, 17 rebounds and six assists in 32 minutes against Phoenix) or such thrilling and nimble end-to-end work from rookie big man Ryan Kelly."

CNNSI: Kings' DeMarcus Cousins Teases Release Of R&B Album

“DeMarcus Cousins is no more, as the man who once bore that name shall be known henceforth as “Boogie Smooth.” The Kings big man has supposedly adopted that working name for the release of his first album — an R&B tip naturally entitled “Misunderstood” — and the launch of his professional music career. In other, completely unrelated news, Tuesday is April Fool’s Day."

ESPN: Andrew Wiggins Declares For Draft

"This wasn't an easy decision for me," Wiggins said Monday. "College goes by so fast. I can see why people stay all four years."

ESPN: How Long Can Spurs' Streak Last?

“While projecting so far ahead is dangerous because of Popovich's penchant for resting his starters late in the season, the estimated odds of San Antonio winning out and taking a 26-game winning streak into the playoffs are barely 2 percent. The schedule is just too hard, with a pair of games -- at Oklahoma City and at Houston -- where the Spurs are tiny underdogs. So enjoy San Antonio's impressive streak while you can.”

ESPN: Patrick Beverley Won't Need Surgery

“But even after Andrews confirmed Monday that Beverley would not need surgery, it's believed that the backcourt defensive specialist will be out up to two more weeks to fully recover.”

SLAM: Enter The Dragon

“[Hornacek and I] were in different hotels in Slovenia, and we couldn’t go out,” the 6-3 Dragic says, sitting in the courtyard of the adidas-sponsored space at the W Hotel in New Orleans during 2014’s All-Star Weekend. “But I spoke him to before the games when he was in the stands, and it was a good experience. I said, ‘Welcome to Slovenia, I hope you’re gonna have a good time.’ I wish I had some free time to show him around, but I couldn’t. We spoke a lot on the phone about what he expects from me and Eric, and that we’d be playing most of the minutes together, because there were rumors out there that I was gonna get traded. They told me that they wanna make this thing work, with me and Eric on the court together.”

SLAM: Post-Up: Knicks Inch Closer

“Early in the 2nd quarter, though, behind strong play from Tim Hardaway Jr. (15 points, +15) and Pablo Prigioni (6 points, 2-2 on 3-pointers), the Knicks locked down defensively and used a 12-0 run to tie the game 34-34. Then late in the same quarter, New York used a 15-0 run to retake the lead right before halftime. The Knicks would hold the lead the entire 3rd quarter, and after Curry knocked down a 3-pointer with 2:42 remaining, the game was tied 81-81. New York would make 6-6 free throws to close the game and take the win. Klay Thompson (15 points, 9 rebounds, 6-18 from the field) couldn’t find his shot all night while the entire Golden State bench was held to 13 points. The Warriors only managed 24 points in the paint, relying far too much on their jumpers. They have a big game against the currently eighth seeded Mavericks (44-30) Tuesday night.”