Around The World: May 1, 2014
Trail Blazers: Rockets Hold Off Elimination With Game 5 Win In Houston
“They came home and they took care of their home court,” said Aldridge. “Now we’ll go back home to Portland and we’ll try and do the same thing. We’ve been a good at home all year, and now we’ll go back home and take care of business.”
Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers Vs. Rockets Game 5 Audio
“Portland cut Houston's lead to one three times in the fourth quarter, but could never get over the hump. The Rockets slowed down LaMarcus Aldridge and limited him to eight points. The top scorers for the Trail Blazers were Wesley Matthews (27) and Damian Lillard (26). Damian Lillard is the first player with 125+ points and 35+ assists in first 5 career playoff games since Tim Hardaway (April 25-May 5, 1991). The Trail Blazers are leading the series 3-2 against the Rockets and play the next game in Portland on Friday at 7:30 on ESPN, KGW, and 620 AM.”
Trail Blazers: Game 5 Notes & Quotes: Rockets 108, Trail Blazers 98
“There is no question that we thought we were going to win that game. In a 82 game season, you play in every kind of game and we have been a resilient team all year. We’ve been in deficits that we’ve allowed ourselves to get into, but we’ve been able to pull them out. There was no question that we were going to fight and we got it to a one point game, but we just couldn’t get over the hump.”
Trail Blazers: Game 5 Highlights
“Portland trailed by just two late in the fourth quarter, but were never able to make a final push to take the lead and eventually lost by 10. Nevertheless, there was plenty of excitement, which included an 18-point third quarter from Wesley Matthews that gave the Trail Blazers a chance to make a game of it in the second half.”
Trail Blazers: RoLo's Hook, Uphill Battles, And Making One Play
“I just tried to develop it to where it’s pretty difficult to block,” said Lopez. “Just flip the ball in. People have called it kind of a slingshot or catapult kind of thing.”
“We are seeing the same evolution with Aldridge under Stotts, a perennial All-Star now trending toward superstardom by way of a open offense predicated on freedom and ball movement. But here, in the season’s biggest game, Aldridge needs one more boost from Stotts.’’
"This team is very resilient," Aldridge said. "We've had ups and downs, we've had moments where people thought we'd quit. But this team has never quit, so we're going home with our crowd — which doesn't guarantee anything — but this this was one of those tough losses, so we'll go home and be better."
"The biggest thing for us tonight was just to learn from our mistakes," said forward Chandler Parsons, who scored 20 points in the Rockets' win." Every game has been so close this series, it's so evenly matched that it's going to be a dog fight from here one out. No one wants their season to end.’’
“LaMarcus Aldridge struggled mightily against the size in the Houston frontcourt. Aldridge was unable to get inside against Dwight Howard and, mostly, Omer Asik and settled for tough jump shots over the bigger players. For the game, he made just 3 of 12 from the field and 2 of 4 from the foul line. Asik, at the other end, made 5 of 12 from the field (he's the master of the missed layup) but scored 10 points and had 15 rebounds (six of them at the offensive end). Howard made 9 of 15 and hit four of his six foul shots to score 22 and grab 14 rebounds.”
“We don’t want no cushion right now. Nothing is guaranteed this year in the playoffs,” Aldridge said. “Homecourt hasn’t been all that great so it’s (the loss) definitely frustrating and it’s a missed opportunity. But we have to learn from it and go home and try to be better.”
“It was tough. It was tough. I could hardly breathe,” Beverley said when asked how hard it was to play on Wednesday night. He didn’t get an IV during the game. “It was hot out there; I felt cold. I had the chills, a mix of things. But none of it matters anymore now that we got the victory. I’ll probably go to the hospital tonight, check myself in, get some more IVs, get ready for the next one.”
Portland Tribune: Believe It: Rockets Find Clutch In Game 5
"Losing L.A. with two quick fouls threw the team off our rhythm," Matthews said. "He's our franchise. He's been having a great series. Without him on the court, it took away from us. We were still able to fight back and give ourselves a chance to take the lead. (The Rockets) just seems to make more plays, more shots down the stretch."
Rip City Project: Trail Blazers Doomed By Poor Decisions Late In Game 5
“For the last 3:38 of yesterday’s game against the Houston Rockets, the Portland Trail Blazers did not score a single point. After Damian Lillard drove for one of his beautiful layups from the left with 3:39 left in the game, the Blazers were within two points – down only 98-100. They wouldn’t score again.”
“Now it’s time to watch those expectations play out in real time, and it seems as if some are wringing their hands a bit. Coaches’ jobs are apparently on the line. TV and sports talk radio airwaves have been overrun with talk of choking and disappointment. And on Thursday, in the hours before the Oklahoma City Thunder were set to play for their playoff lives against the Memphis Grizzlies, readers of the Oklahoman awoke to this headline:”
“Under Gregg Popovich, the Spurs have shown a consistent ability to identify several likely paths to victory, excel in those areas, and end up with a big win. It's a form of basketball triage, not so much an announcement of dominance as a case of high-stakes problem-solving. Wednesday's victory qualified as just that sort of success story. The Spurs have struggled at times to limit the Mavericks' high-efficiency offense of several capable scorers. In this contest, however, they kept the visitors at bay despite the team's three key players — Dirk Nowitzki (26 points on 10-of-20 FG), Monta Ellis (21 points on 8-of-18 FG), and Vince Carter (28 points on 10-of-16 FG) — all performing ably. No other player scored more than eight points, and only Brandon Wright (2-of-3 FG) hit at least half his attempts. It also helps that, for a team that hits jumpers as well as any in the NBA, the Mavericks missed their fair share of open looks on their way to 43.6 percent shooting for the night.”
Ball Don't Lie: Mike D'Antoni Resigns As Head Coach Of The Los Angeles Lakers
"D'Antoni, 62, ends his two-year tenure in Hollywood with a record of 67-87, a .435 winning percentage. He inherited a Lakers team that had been expected to compete for NBA championships following trades to import All-Stars Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to pair with incumbent stars Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace, but that had stumbled under head coach Mike Brown, who was fired after compiling a 1-4 record to begin the 2012-13 campaign."
"The differentiating point seems to be that the Brooklyn crowd, which is often crowded but not as often sold-out/jam-packed, only really brings its most vociferous behavior during specific moments, whereas the Toronto faithful are nuts before the game, during the game, outside the game ... you name it. The good news for Nets fans is that they'll get at least one more opportunity to make a dent in this particularly painful public perception:”
ESPNLA: Lakers Want To 'Make A Splash'
"The Lakers also plan to reach out to the Chicago Bulls for permission to interview coach Tom Thibodeau, a source told ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin. The Lakers are closely monitoring the playoffs, believing that several viable candidates could become available should their respective teams be eliminated."
TrueIndy: Season On The Brink
"It’s hard to pinpoint when the rapture hit -- the Pacers were kind of busy sunning themselves in a franchise-best 16-1 start, GQ spreads and All-Star appearances. Now the team that many pegged to unseat the Miami Heat and represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals faces the possibility of final judgment in a win-or-go-home game Thursday night in Atlanta against the Hawks."
"It should have been one of the greatest moments in Dirk Nowitzki's life, a crowning achievement of a long journey to master the game and achieve the highest status among his peers. Instead, the 2007 Most Valuable Player Award ceremony was melancholy, with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban holding back tears as he introduced his franchise player. Nowitzki received the award a few days after his team had been stunned in the first round of the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors, a group of smaller defenders harassing him with a game plan for which he was unprepared. Unable to shake the Warriors, he ended up playing well below his standard during the series."
TrueMemphis: Sleepless In Memphis
"It’s not just the overtime game after game after game after game. It’s the hypnotic how of it all. Each time, the Grizzlies have lost a multi-possession lead in the final minutes, including three times in the final minute. Three times -- all three Grizzlies wins -- this collapse has included a Thunder four-point play. Each time, the team that builds a double-digit lead earlier in the game loses it but still prevails in overtime. Each time (to borrow a favorite passive-aggressive Allen observation about elite scorers he guards) Durant and Russell Westbrook shoot a lot of shots. Each time, Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph cobble together just enough good-but-not-great play to hang around. And each time, a bench shooter -- Beno Udrih in Games 2 and 3, Reggie Jackson in Game 4, Mike Miller in Game 5 -- breaks the perpetual tie. "
"Fiction. While the Pacers have been embarrassing themselves since the All-Star break, the first round has brought the struggle to new lows -- and it has largely been a product of Frank Vogel's refusal to adjust and use different personnel. He wanted to beat the Hawks by staying big even as his opponent spread the floor with five shooters. It hasn't worked, but there is enough talent on his roster to switch courses, match Atlanta stylistically and win. Tonight, I think he will -- finally -- choose victory over principles."
SLAM: Post-Up: Bulldog Courage
"But then Kyle Lowry found a way. He got to the line for two free-throws, drew a charge, nailed a three and then a five-foot floater to put the Raptors up for good. Calling it an emotional roller coaster of a quarter is simply an understatement."