Around The World: May 3, 2014

by Casey Holdahl
Follow @chold


Trail Blazers: Lillard's Game-Winner Advances Portland To Second Round

“I mean, I got a pretty good look,” said Lillard, who finished the game with 25 points on 8 of 14 shooting from the field and 6 of 10 shooting from three. “Mo and Wes did a great job of trying to screen and I was able to break free and I got my feet squared up and it felt real good leaving my hands. Once I saw it on line, I said that’s got a chance. It went in, but it did feel good when it left my hands.”

Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard's Game 6 Game-Winner

“A shot that is sure to live forever in Rip City lore, Damian Lillard hits a three-pointer as time expires to lift the Blazers to a 99-98 victory, thus eliminating the Rockets and punching Portland’s ticket to the second round for the first time in 14 years.”

Trail Blazers: Call Of The Game: The Legend Of Lillard

“Chandler Parsons grabbed the loose ball and put in up and in, giving the Houston Rockets a 98-96 lead with just 0.9 seconds remaining on the game clock. Houston was 0.9 seconds away from Game 7. But 0.9 seconds was plenty of time for Damian Lillard to add to his already impressive legend. In nearly the exact spot where Brandon Roy sent Houston home packing six years ago, Lillard caught the ball from beyond the arc, let it fly, and the rest, as they say, was history. Behind Lillard's miraculous buzzer0beater, the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Rockets, 99-98, and advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals for the first time since 2000.”

Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers Vs. Rockets Game 6 Audio

“With just 0.9 second remaining on the clock, the Rockets were two points ahead of the Trail Blazers. That's two points closer to tying the series at 3-3 and forcing Portland to fly to Houston for the final execution. The crowd at the Moda Center roared and then exploded with joy. No one else but Damian Lillard ended Houston's dreams. In a perfect, smooth and confident style he displays, Lillard got the ball from Batum and, while wide open, scored for three at the buzzer. The Rockets froze. It was an unbelievable finish keeping the fans of both teams biting their nails. The Trail Blazers won the series 4-2 and clinched the Western Conference Semifinals for the first time since 2000! In only his second year in the NBA, Lillard started a new, long-awaited chapter for Rip City. The story continues next week in the second round.”

Trail Blazers: Game 6 Notes & Quotes: Trail Blazers 99, Rockets 98

“That’s definitely the biggest shot of my life – so far.”

Trail Blazers: Tweets Of The Night: #LillardTime Edition

“The best tweets from NBA media, players, and alums surrounding Damian Lillard's historic Game 6 game-winner.”

Trail Blazers: Robinson Finds Time To Shine In Game 6

And as big as Lillard’s game and series-winning shot was for the city of Portland, it was just as big for Robinson. “That shot was big for me, but I’m going to leave it at that,” Robinson said. Asked if beating the Rockets specifically made advancing out the first round of the playoffs even sweeter, he replied simply, “sweeter than cake.”

Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard On NBATV Arena Link

“Trail Blazers point guard joins the NBA TV crew to talk about hitting the game and series winning three-pointer in Game 6 versus the Houston Rockets at the Moda Center.”

Trail Blazers: Behind The Scenes In Portland's Locker Room After Game 6

"Even someone like myself who works for the team doesn’t get to see what happens in the locker room directly after the game is over. But the NBA does, and they’ve posted a short video of the Trail Blazers huddling up after beating the Rockets in Game 6 and advancing to the second round for the first time in 14 years.’’

Trail Blazers: Lillard's Series Winner From Every Angle

"I’m plum out of things to say, so just watch this video of Damian Lillard’s game and first-round series winning three-pointer from every angle available."

Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers Vs. Rockets Game 6 Highlights

“While there is one highlight, Damian Lillard’s series-winning buzzer-beating three-pointer, from Friday night’s Game 6 victory that has already reached legendary status, there were actually other ridiculous plays in the first 47 minutes and 59 seconds that put Portland in a position to win their first playoff series in 14 years. There was Wesley Matthews diving over the scorers today to save a possession, Robin Lopez posterizing Omer Asik and Thomas Robinson flexing on everything he possibly could.”

Trail Blazers: LaMarcus Aldridge On NBA Inside Stuff

"But let us not forget the LaMarcus Aldridge, whose 30 points and 13 rebounds put Portland in a position to have a shot at tying or winning the game with 0.9 seconds to play. And of course, his otherworldly performances in Game 1 and Game 2 were the driving force in the Trail Blazes going up 2-0 before playing a game at the Moda Center."

Oregon Live: Damian Lillard Bring His Fearlessness From Oakland To Portland To Create History

“I think that was a big part of it,’’ Lillard said of his Oakland upbringing. “Because I think a lot of what people see (in Beverley) is a dog out there. He’s physical, passionate and he’s really competing. He had a couple good defensive games against me, and even some of those games I scored 20 points, but just because how he looks when he plays it, it’s like he did a great job. But just because I don’t look the part of a tough guy, and all that stuff, doesn’t mean I don’t have it in me,’’ Lillard said."

Oregon Live: Quick: Damian Lillard Hits Biggest Shot In Trail Blazers History, And The Best Might Be Yet To Come

“I felt like they deserved to be rewarded,’’ Lillard said of grabbing the mic. “And us sticking out on the court and kind of rallying and chanting with the crowd for a while, I think that’s what Portland has been looking for for a long time.’’

Oregon Live: Trail Blazers Series-Winning Shot By Damian Lillard Was Simple Opportunity And A Burst Of Speed

“I don’t know if they had miscommunication or what, but Dame broke free and made a helluva shot,” Blazers guard Wesley Matthews said."

Oregon Live: Random Thoughts From Blazers' Playoff Series Victory: More Respect For Howard, Less For Harden, And What Lopez And Stotts Proved

"My opinion of James Harden plummeted after this series. Talk about a hollow player whose statistics greatly inflate his value. Yes, Harden led the Rockets in scoring at 26.8 points a game, but he shot 37.6 percent from the field and 29.6 percent from three-point range. He played sleepy defense, ignored Howard’s inside dominance while taking hurried shots, and showed bad form and thin skin when he called a respected reporter “weirdo” for having the audacity to ask about his shooting woes. On top of it all, his game is somewhat of a fraud: he initiates contact with his defender more than often, and is more preoccupied with duping the officials to get a call than he is in working for a good shot. After six games of it all, I’ve seen enough. Will never look at him the same."

Oregon Live: Trail Blazers Gain New Fan After Series Victory: Houston Center Dwight Howard

Howard, who had a dominant series averaging 26 points and 13.7 rebounds, stayed on the court after Lillard’s game-winning shot Friday, wading through celebrating Blazers players to shake Lillard’s hand. “I told him great series. Proud of him,’’ Howard said. “And go win a ‘chip (championship).’’

CSNNW: One Shot Has Changed The Course Of Trail Blazers History

"And there's no way, right now, to calculate what that shot -- that beautiful, pressure-packed, arching shot from deep on the left side of the court -- means to this franchise and the players on this team. For the front office, more money from another playoff series? Of course, and a chance for the franchise to finish up in the black for the first time in years. But on the court, that shot -- and resulting win -- means so much more."

Columbian: Blazer Fans Revel In Crazy, Unbelievable Finish

“I’m excited for Portland,” Matthews said. “It’s such a prideful fanbase, city and state. I’m excited for them. Be safe tonight, Portland.”

Portland Tribune: Lillard Walk On Water? Of Course He Cane

"It was a hell of a win," coach Terry Stotts said after the Blazers won its first playoff series since 2000, ending the longest drought in the NBA's Western Conference. "I don't know that it could have been any more dramatic."

Rip City Project: Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets: Surprises From The Series

“My goodness has Harden been awful. Never mind that he is averaging the exact amount of points he averaged in the regular season (25.4), he’s doing it on seven more field goal attempts per game (23.6) and 34.7 percent shooting. Of the 482 players that competed in any NBA games at all this year, Harden’s current field goal percentage would place him firmly at 438th in the league if sustained for an entire season. We have come to expect this sort of ineptitude from him on defense, but the supposed best shooting guard in the league shouldn’t be laying bricks like the third little pig.”

Blazersedge: Media Row Report: Blazers 99, Rockets 98

"He came off the screen, that was a decoy play," Batum said. "He was clapping and screaming. He was too open, I had to. ... He was so wide open I had to break the play. I had to. ... [Lillard] stopped being a young player after five games last year, he's elite. The play wasn't for him, but when I saw him wide open, I had no hesitation. I knew he could make that shot."

Ball Don't Lie: Monta Ellis And The Mavericks Win A Tight One Over The Spurs To Force Another Game 7

"Ellis served as their closer, putting forth a game-ending run that should serve to boost his reputation around the league after several years in the analytical doghouse. After coming into the game at the 6:28 mark, Ellis scored 12 of his game-high 29 points while doing most of the ballhandling in crunch time. As they did all season, Ellis proved particularly effective in pick-and-roll situations with Nowitzki, although he also scored five points during a 64-second stretch with Dirk on the bench for defensive reasons.

Ball Don't Lie: A Poster Outside Of Brooklyn's Barclays Center Asks Passerby If They've Seen The 'Missing' Deron Williams

“For whatever reason – wrist and ankle issues are usually given the bulk of the credit – Williams’ game has not been the same since becoming a Net (the “2/23/2011” designation on the poster refers to the day he was dealt to the team). He’s being paid like a superstar, Deron received a five-year and nearly $99 million contract during the summer of 2012, but his sub-All-Star play has been quite disappointing in the years since. And his Nets are in danger of being knocked out of the playoffs in the first round for the second straight year, rough news for a team with a nearly $200 player and coach payroll, once taxes are accounted for.”

ESPN: Daily Dime

“In his first trip to the playoffs, Lillard delivered the knockout punch to the Rockets with a game-winning 3 at the buzzer in Game 6. He finished with 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting with six 3-pointers.”

ESPN: Roster Reload: Houston Rockets

“Houston has two valuable contributing backups who NEED to be off the roster as soon as possible: Jeremy Lin and Asik. The nature of their contracts calls for the cash-out payment of about $15 million apiece. As a result, they become overly expensive backups and a luxury Houston neither needs nor can afford. On the bright side, they still hold value as players with the potential to start on a playoff team (Asik moreso than Lin), and that should assist the Rockets in their pursuit of help. One such target could be Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap, who would fit the Rockets' desire for a power forward who can space the floor and be versatile defensively. Millsap is entering the final year of his deal, which calls for him to make $9.5 million, and a Millsap-for-Asik deal makes sense for Atlanta as a defensive anchor they so desperately need.”

ESPN: Win-Or-Go-Home Weekend

“Warriors. Chris Paul is laboring and the Splash Brothers have shot well below their 3-point averages in this series. I don't expect that last bit to continue. Blake Griffin will have to play the game of his life to keep the Clippers afloat, but I think the Warriors will live by the 3, not die by it in this one.”

CNNSI: Playbook Mechanics: Dissecting Damian Lillard’s Series-Ending Buzzer-Beater

“On Friday night, Damian Lillard ended the Rockets’ season in cold blood. With just 0.9 seconds standing between Houston, which led 98-96 at the time, and an anything-could-happen Game 7, Lillard curled around the three-point arc and made a clean catch. He rose and fired with plenty of time to spare and with his defender, Chandler Parsons, a full step behind. When Lillard’s shot fell through the net, Parsons slumped onto the scorer’s table. The series was done, Houston’s run was over, and Portland would advance to the next round of the playoffs through a scene of blistering screams and streaming confetti.”

CNNSI: Roundtable: Which Road Team Most Likely To Pull Off Game 7 Upset On Saturday?

“I picked the Thunder over the Grizzlies in 7 and I see no reason to waiver from that, especially now that Kevin Durant has gotten his groove back. The Pacers still look ready to be toppled with a light shove, but the way the Hawks tightened up down the stretch in Game 6, it’s hard to see them being able to win a Game 7 on the road. That leaves Golden State, which has a couple of factors in its favor: Chris Paul isn’t his usual explosive self on offense because of a hamstring problem, and the Clippers still seem to be fighting emotional fatigue from the Donald Sterling mess. They haven’t played a really solid game since the 40-point blowout win in Game 2. If the Warriors contain Blake Griffin with Draymond Green’s tenacity along with well-timed double teams as well as they did in Game 6 — a big “if” — they have a good chance to steal the series.”

SLAM: Post-Up: #LillardTime

“Lillard’s catch-and-release trey and subsequent court-storming by the entire Moda Center will likely dominate SportsCenter all weekend, but this was a game for the books even before the shot that turned “Clutch City” into “Crushed City.”