Around The World: May 7, 2014

by Casey Holdahl
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Trail Blazers: Charles Barkley: 'If You're Portland, You've Just Got To Forget About The Game'

“The Spurs just jumped on them,” said Barkley. “They got hit in the mouth and they backed up the entire game. The Trail Blazers played like they were still in the first-round. The deeper you go in the playoffs, you’re playing against better teams and the intensity has to rise. So if I’m the Trail Blazers I say ‘We got our butt kicked, plain and simple.’ But one game to the next does not matter NBA playoffs.”

Trail Blazers: Neil Olshey Finishes Third In Executive Of The Year Voting

“In his second year as Portland’s general manager, Olshey reloaded the roster with a host of savvy, cost-effective trades and free agent signings. He acquired starting center Robin Lopez for second-round draft pick Jeff Withey, a future second-round pick and cash, traded Kostas Papanikolaou, Marko Todorovic and two future second-round picks for second-year forward Thomas Robinson and signed veterans Mo Williams, Dorell Wright and Earl Watson. The result was a 21-win improvement from last season, the fifth seed in the Western Conference and the team advancing to the second-round for the first time in 14 years.”

Trail Blazers: Spurs Tot With Trail Blazers In Game 1 Of Western Conference Semis

“Tonight was just one of those nights,” said Aldridge. “A welcome to San Antonio. I think a lot of guys got taken back, but I thought guys bounced back in the second half and that shows how we’re going to be next game. I thought the second half was much better for us and I think that’s how we’ll start the game next game.”

Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers Vs. Spurs Game 1 Audio

“The Trail Blazers are off to a rocky start in San Antonio. The Spurs scored the first 8 points of the game. Mo Williams brought a spark of energy for Portland coming off the bench.The Trail Blazers finished the first quarter down 29-16. Aldridge and Lopez picked up points for Portland in the second quarter, but San Antonio extended their lead to 65-39 going into halftime. Aldridge had 13 points while Mo Williams shot six.”

Trail Blazers: LaMarcus Aldridge Finishes 10th In MVP Voting

“Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge finished 10th in the voting. He got two third-place votes, one from Eric Hasseltine of 92.9 FM ESPN/680 AM and the other from Trail Blazers television analyst Mike Rice. He also received two fourth-place vote, one from Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal and the other from Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express New. He rounded out his total with 10 fifth-place votes (Bill Lamb of Spurs Television, Bill Oram of the Orange Country Register, Bob Rathbun of Fox Sports South, Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post, Chris Marlowe of Altitude Sports, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, Grant Napier of ESPN California, Joel Meyers of Fox Sports New Orleans, Jon Barry of ESPN and Ken Pompey of the Philly Enquirer) for 26 total points. Indiana’s Paul George finished ahead of Aldridge in ninth with 33 points with Minnesota’s Kevin Love finishing right behind Aldridge in 11th with 25 points.”

Oregon Live: San Antonio Spurs Flex Championship Muscle In Game 1 Rout Of Trail Blazers

“They knew the magnitude of the game,” Matthews said. “I think we knew the magnitude of the game, but we haven’t been here. We’re not going to play that experience card, we’re not going to use any scapegoat or crutch. We didn’t come out with what we needed to in the first half and they did. And we can’t let that happen (again). We’re going to lay it all out there in Game 2."

Oregon Live: After Blowout Win, Spurs Expect A More Aggressive Attack From Trail Blazers In Game 2

“He’s going to be very aggressive,” Parker said. “I expect him to take even more shots and try to help his team, and I’m sure he’s going to be ready to go.”

Oregon Live: Trail Blazers' Rallying Cry After Game 1: 'We Won The Second Half'

“We won the second half,’’ Wesley Matthews said. “We won the second half. Unfortunately, we dug ourselves too big of a hole in the first half.’’

Oregon Live: Trail Blazers In Search Of Their 'Freedom' After Game 1 Lockdown By Spurs

“They turned it up,’’ Wesley Matthews said. “They turned their intensity up. I think we were rushing and moving too fast. I don’t think we let our plays develop. We have to fine tune. It’s a long series.’’

Oregon Live: Trail Blazers Have Their 'Welcome To San Antonio' Moment, Now How Do They Respond

“We have to make adjustments and come out with a killer attitude, because that’s what they got,’’ Matthews said. “We have to come back in Game 2 with a different mentality.’’

CSNNW: Lillard, Watson Organzied Team Dinner That Pulled Team Closer

Following an embarrassing 111-92 loss on national television, dropping Game 1 of this semifinal round, the Trail Blazers quickly regrouped, got their thoughts together and alerted the basketball world that they’re not out of this. “Panic?” Damian Lillard responded to CSNNW.com when asked if this team is shaken. “After Game 1? Damn.”

CSNNW: Lillard Not Running From Rigorous Task Of Defending Parker

“It’s an opportunity to show that I can guard,” he said. “If we’re going to have a chance to move on, I’m going to have to defend against him and I’m ready to go out there and do it. It’s tough as we see, but I’m not running from it.”

Columbian: Matthews, Batum Make The Connection

“I think we both consider ourselves better than what other people give us credit for. When someone comes in that’s talked about more than us we have that pride factor,” Matthews said."

Portland Tribune: On Parker, Baynes, Dr. Jack Buttons And Other Tidbits From Spurs-Blazers Opener

"Dr. Jack was somebody very special in Portland," Popovich said. "The Portland (media-relations directors) brought these pins. We're all wearing them in his memory. He was an icon on the business. He always gave of himself. He was a teacher, a kind man, somebody we all respected so much. We want to continue to show how much we all love him."

Blazersedge: Media Row Report: Spurs 116, Blazers 92

“Film study will confirm that Tony Parker was in maestro mode, finishing with a game-high 33 points (on 13-for-24 shooting) and dishing nine assists. Just as Portland had made a point to punish Harden defensively early in the first round, San Antonio was clearly encouraging Parker to enter full-on attack mode from the get-go. He was relentless in pick-and-roll situations, which is no surprise, and his jumper was spot on, which generally pushes him into "impossible to single cover" territory. The last time I was in San Antonio, I watched in awe as Kevin Pelton devoured at least 12 pounds of Filet Mignon in one sitting at an all-you-can-eat Brazilian steakhouse. That was Parker here, insatiable, probing in transition, darting through traffic, wheeling around to use unexpected screens. He went back for seconds, and thirds, and fourths, and fifths."

Ball Don't Lie: The Atlanta Hawks? Gone Till November.

"Finding a pure passer to perhaps play alongside Jeff Teague would help possibly encourage Teague to stay aggressive offensively. Pero Antic worked hard and provided solid enough center relief for Horford until a playoff shooting drought hit, but the Hawks need to find a consistent backup big man. Kyle Korver figures to age well and DeMarre Carroll’s perimeter game is becoming more and more consistent, but this still isn’t an overwhelming team even with the addition of Horford and however many Ferry-acquired new options. Signing someone like Luol Deng to cut offensively and defend on the other end would seem to be a proper fit, but it doesn’t exactly guarantee a three-round playoff run."

Ball Don't Lie: The Houston Rockets? Gone Till November.

"It’s another tricky summer for Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, as years of asset-hounding and delayed rebuilding have finally cashed in on two giants in Harden and Dwight Howard, but adding to that core will be tricky. Fine on-paper acquisitions like Omri Casspi, Francisco Garcia, Jordan Hamilton, Ronnie Brewer and Reggie Williams absolutely did not pan out. A saddened and sweaty Omer Asik had a frustrating waste to his season, Jeremy Lin was revealed as more of a third guard scorer and penetrator than ball-distributing leader of men in his second full NBA season as a rotation player, and Chandler Parsons just isn’t yet the third star that the Rockets probably aren’t expecting him to be.’’

Ball Don't Lie: Lady Gaga Fans Are Angered After Her Concert In Washington Is Rescheduled In Deference To A Wizards Game

"Few, if any, Washington Wizards fans nor NBA analysts predicted prior to the 2013-14 season that the Wizards would be playing on May 15. It’s true the Wizards were given a solid chance to make the postseason following the preseason deal for center Marcin Gortat, but, if anything, it was expected that Washington would be out in the first round, failing to make its second second-round appearance in nearly three decades, leaving the team’s Verizon Center home plenty of time to schedule all manner of events in the 17-year-old arena."

ESPN: Bradley Beal's Playoff Breakthrough

“Beal's improvement can partially be credited to hot shooting -- he's making 48.1 percent of his 3s in the postseason -- but he also has showcased his ability to create off the dribble. Beal is getting to the rim more and has more than doubled his free throw attempts per game. His assist rate is up, too. The slightly different style has helped Beal improve his TS% from .507 to .572 despite facing superior defenses in the playoffs.”

ESPN: Warriors In Touch With Steve Kerr

"In addition to the Warriors and Knicks, the Utah Jazz are the latest team trying to barge into the race for Kerr, a source told ESPN.com's Marc Stein, but the sense in coaching circles remains that the Knicks are the favorites to land Kerr on the strength of his relationship with Jackson."

TrueOKC: For One Day, KD Gets Away From It All

"This is the first year I played when I didn't put basketball first,” Durant said. “I put being a man first."

ESPN: Cinderella, Are You Out There?

"The Wizards weren't the lowest seed to survive the first round, and they had plenty of support to advance when we forecast their matchup against the Chicago Bulls. So it's a stretch to call Washington a "Cinderella" in the same way we might refer to Mercer, a No. 14 seed who knocked off No. 3-seeded Duke in the most recent March Madness. Elsewhere in the first round, the Brooklyn Nets advanced as a No. 6 seed, but can we think of them as a Giant Killer when they have lineup full of All-Stars and a payroll that would make Donald Trump blush? And what about the Portland Trail Blazers, who advanced as another No. 5 seed by beating the Rockets: Are they that much of a surprise when they beat a team they were tied with in the regular-season standings?"

CNNSI: Warriors Owed Mark Jackson More On Way Out Door

"Lacob did say that the Warriors' on-court performance -- they went from 23 wins in Jackson's first year to 47 last season to 51 this year --wasn't the reason for the ouster. At least, not exactly. But maybe a little. He thought the Warriors were capable of a top-four finish in the tough Western Conference, and they finished sixth, three games out of the fourth spot, losing their first-round playoff series to the Clippers in seven games while playing without injured starting center Andrew Bogut. "I would not say it was unsatisfactory," Lacob said. "I would say that it did not meet our goals. Could we maybe have been a little better? Yeah."

CNNSI: Playoff Roundtable: Most Underrated Performance By A Player This Postseason?

“Matthews didn’t shoot particularly well against Houston (41.3 percent), but his defense against James Harden more than made up for it. Matthews helped limit Harden to 37.3 percent shooting, keeping the All-Star guard frustrated through most of the six games. On a team without many lockdown defenders, Matthews has stepped up, giving the Blazers the perimeter stopper they badly needed to overcome the Rockets.”

SLAM: Post-Up: Statement Game

“LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 32 and Damian Lillard with 17 for Portland, a team that moved on from Round 1 of the Playoffs for the first time in 14 years. The Spurs have quite a different history in the past 14-15 years, what with their advancing from the first round in all but two series and—oh yeah—winning the NBA Championship four out of five times.”