Around The World: May 9, 2014

by Casey Holdahl
Follow @chold

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Trail Blazers: Aldridge Falls To Fifth On ESPN Postseason MVP Rankings

“If you’re looking for a reason to think Aldridge’s performance in Game 3 at the Moda Center on Saturday will be different than his 6 for 23 performance from Game 2, consider this: Aldridge followed up an eight-point, 3 of 12 shooting performance in Portland’s Game 5 loss to the Rockets in the first round with a 30-point, 10 of 26 performance in Game 6. So basically, he could be due for a bounce back game, which would greatly help Portland’s chances of getting back into the series and his prospect of moving back up the postseason MVP rankings (though I guarantee he could care less about the second part).”

Trail Blazers: Second Quarter Dooms Trail Blazers In San Antonio

“Will Barton, the way (Spurs) rotation is with their perimeter guys, I thought he was a good match,” said Stotts of the decision to play Barton. “In the first half we went with our small lineup, I liked his activity. Just looking for a spark and I think he’s played well both games.”

Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers Greeted By Snake In San Antonio Locker Room

“I just put my shoes down and once I put my shoes down I double looked and I seen a snake sitting there,” said Robinson. “After that, I got away from it. I just seen something curled up and I looked again and it was a snake. No one believed me until they looked in there. It hissed, I backed up.”

Trail Blazers: Game 2 Quotes: Spurs 114, Trail Blazers 97

“No panic. We know we’ve done bad the last two games. We have to go back home and watch video tomorrow. Game 3 will be huge for us. We know the crowd is going to be behind us, so we have that for us. We have to be ready right from the start. Don’t do those mistakes, those little mistakes, to let them get a huge lead, and have a good game.”

Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers Vs. Spurs Game 2 Audio

“Nic Batum's two early 3-point jumpers and three points from Lopez tied the Trail Blazers against the Spurs at 12. Thanks to Lillard's last second shot, the deficit melted but the the Spurs were on top 29-26 at the end of the first. In the second quarter, the Spurs extended the lead to 19 points with the halftime score 70-51.Batum was the first Trail Blazer to get the double-digits tonight (he had 12). Lillard scored 15 for Portland.”

Oregon Live: Answer To Trail Blazers' Problems Might Be Hanging Inside Their Locker Room In Portland'

“It’s time that plaque means something to the players who have their name engraved on it. It’s time for Lopez to show even more fight inside. Time for Aldridge to show some toughness against Tiago Splitter’s defense. Time for Lillard to show fearlessness in the face of the Spurs' stellar defense. Time for Matthews and the rest of the team to stand up for each other amid the Spurs’ storm of execution.”

Oregon Live: As Trail Blazers-Spurs Shifts To Portland, Tony Parker Says 'It's Going To Be Even Harder'

"It's going to be even harder – that's the playoffs," Parker said about the series moving to Portland. "We did our job, we won our first two games at home but the series starts when you win one on the road and we need to get one. We know it's one of the toughest arenas, they play very well at home, they have great crowd."

CSNNW: Damian Lillard On What Makes Spurs Tough: 'Their Screens Hurt'

“Their screens hurt. They actually set real screens,” Lillard told CSNNW.com. “They do a great job of setting and holding screens. It wears you down. Chasing Tony Parker is one thing. Getting hit every single time is another thing. It takes a toll on you.”

CSNNW: Different Game, Same Story For Trail Blazers -- Spurs Just Too Good

“And that isn't going to be easy, even at home. San Antonio shot 53.3 percent from the field and 60 percent from three-point range. They did a terrific job on Portland's two all-stars, holding LaMarcus Aldridge to 16 points on 23 shots and Damian Lillard to 19 points on 20 shots. In the fourth quarter, when Portland had trimmed a healthy Spurs lead to 8, the Trail Blazers needed a three-point field goal in the worst way but couldn't find one as San Antonio ran them off the three-point line.’’

Portland Tribune: '24 Minutes Of Le Spurs' Sink Blazers

"We got off to a good start compared to last game," said Portland's Nicolas Batum, who collected 21 points and nine rebound in his 44 minutes. "But the first five minutes of the second quarter, we let them do whatever they wanted. We didn't stop them. They made 3's, got offensive rebounds … the crowd got into it, and it was tough to get back into the game after that."

Rip City Project: Mo Williams Aggravates Groin Injury Against Spurs

"This comes as a blow to the Trail Blazers, who need Williams’ veteran leadership on the court. Though his inconsistencies sometimes overshadow his merits, he leads the Trail Blazers in scoring off the bench and led the entire league in assists off the bench this season. He is supposed to be Portland’s strongest answer to San Antonio’s impressive depth."

Blazersedge: Media Row Report: Spurs 114, Blazers 97

“Yes, he called it an onslaught and it was the perfect word choice. It took Diaw less than one minute to change the tenor of the game, and so many things were happening at a faster pace than Portland could handle. Green flicked his three-pointers so rapidly and purely that Blazers defenders slumped in frustration not when the ball hit the net, but when it left his hand. Ditto Belinelli. And if Portland overcompensated ever so slightly in trying to lock down the shooters, Tiago Splitter found a way to sneak into the empty space behind, batting out offensive rebounds and locating back-breaking tip-ins.”

Ball Don't Lie: Kobe Bryant On Mike D'Antoni's Resignation: 'Honestly, I Didn't Care'

“Kobe does care. He wants a fresh start, he wants to be consulted, and he wants to be the NBA’s highest paid player, but also hey please sign another superstar to play alongside me but I still want all the shots and also bring my buddy Pau back and also let me feel wanted by asking me about coaches but I’m going to still pretend to be aloof and cold and distant while going on national TV. Is that cool?"

Ball Don't Lie: Miami Goes Up 2-0 Over The Brooklyn Nets, As Deron Williams Goes Scoreless In Game 2

"In was sad to watch, as the 2004 NBA MVP and 2008 NBA champion ran back up court with his head down after missing the shot he’s made thousands of times in his career. Shaun Livingston replaced Garnett soon after, and a lineup of “bigs” featuring Pierce and Mirza Teletovic (who nailed six 3-pointers in the loss) failed to patrol the glass as a result. With their leading rebounder sitting, the Nets allowed Miami to rattle off a 100-second “possession” featuring three offensive rebounds, one that finished with a James lay-in to seal the game with two minutes to go."

TrueIndy: Gone Fishin'

“The rumors and innuendo have plagued the Pacers in the postseason and throughout most of the regular season’s second half. At times, the tattle (cliques, insecurities and women are the most common themes) overshadowed their accomplishments and has only grown in Indiana’s eventful playoff run. In advance of Game 2, George finally addressed its existence: “I'm just getting tired of the media and these stories,” he said. “I’m just putting everything to bed and rest.”

ESPN: Pacers Need To Feed Roy Hibbert

"From Vogel's perspective, however, the decision may not have been difficult. To get back to the conference finals and emerge victorious this time around, Indiana must have Hibbert playing as effectively as he played in last year's postseason and the first half of this season, when he earned All-Star honors. If, as in Game 2, throwing the ball to Hibbert down low is the way to coax that performance out of the big man, then keep the post-ups coming."

CNNSI: Roundtable: Better Point Guard For The Next 10 Years: Damian Lillard Or John Wall?

“Damian Lillard. Wall possesses the higher ceiling, but Lillard is already realizing his potential in his second year while John Wall is still struggling to reach his in his fourth. The Blazers’ guard has continued a steady but steep ascension up the NBA ladder, going from Rookie of the Year to All-Star to playoff hero, becoming the first player since 1997 to end a series on a buzzer-beater. He’s one of four players averaging at least 20-5-5 this postseason and he’s become one of the league’s most dangerous three-point shooters, averaging three triples per game in the playoffs and shooting 44.4 percent. Lillard can’t compete with Wall’s athleticism and end-to-end speed, but he makes up for it with a much better jumper (Wall is shooting 32.7 percent this postseason) and a much better understanding of the pick-and-roll."

CNNSI: Three-Pointers: Spurs’ Offense Way Too Much For Blazers To Handle Again In Game 2

"The Spurs’ approach to defending Aldridge seems to be working. At the very least, it’s an improvement over what Houston did. San Antonio did a good job making things difficult for the Blazers’ forward on Thursday. Aldridge was never able to settle into a rhythm. His mid-range jump shot – Aldridge’s bread and butter – wasn’t falling, and his attempts from close range were well defended."

SLAM: Post-Up: Rout Repeat

“The Trail Blazers showed some efficiency of their own at the line, going for a perfect 100 percent on 10-10 shooting. But they lacked in other areas. LaMarcus Aldridge, while finishing with a respectable 16 points and 10 boards, only shot 6-23 from the floor. Damian Lillard scored a nifty buzzer beater to end the first quarter and bring the Blazers within three, but that was before the Spurs’ 23-6 run to start the second. Lillard shot 8-20 on the night for 20 points. ”

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