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Around The World: December 29

  1. Written by: DHawes22  / avg. rating: 5.0

    December 29 Video: December 28 Trail Blazers Courtisde

    SLAM: LaMarcus Aldridge: Blazers Can Finish as Top Western Conference Team
    “Where do you see the Portland Trail Blazers when this season is over in the Western Conference? ‘I definitely see us finishing in the top two [of the Western Conference]. I feel like if we can keep growing as a team, keep finding chemistry offensively as we do have new pieces. I think if we keep growing and we keep working hard, we have a chance to finish first. We feel like we can play with any team. We have the pieces and players to compete with anyone this year. We definitely are not trying to short hand ourselves and say we can’t finish first. I think a lot of the critics say we are definitely not going to finish first. We feel like if we go out together and play hard…we feel like we can then we have a chance to.’”

    Seattle Times: Jamal Crawford finds perfect fit with Trail Blazers
    "He kind of hammered it home that this was the right fit for me," Crawford said."

    Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers Face Nuggets In First Division Battle
    "The night will mark the first return of former Trail Blazers Andre Miller and Rudy Fernandez since their departure in June as part of a three-team trade on draft night. Portland acquired Raymond Felton, who played a partial season in Denver, in the swap. Andre Miller tallied 25 points and 17 assists in his first two games back with the Nuggets while Rudy Fernandez scored 19 points in his 60 mins of play."

    Oregon Live: Trail Blazers rookie Nolan Smith reps Oak Hill Academy
    "Portland Trail Blazers rookie Nolan Smith prepped at perennial national powerhouse Oak Hill Academy (Va.). Oak Hill is currently playing in the 2011 Les Schwab Invitational basketball tournament at Liberty High School in Hillsboro."

    Oregon Live: Trail Blazers notebook: Roster gives Nate McMillan flexibility to go long and lean, bulky and mean
    "I just try to go out and help the team in any way I can," Smith said. "Hustle, rebound, whatever they need me to do, I'll try to be there. Whether it's one minute or 10 minutes -- whatever it is."

    Columbian: Blazers hope 2-0 start is only beginning
    "Eleven Blazers saw action when the game was still up for grabs against the Kings Tuesday night (13 played in all), with eight playing at least 17 minutes."

    CSNNW: Nolan Smith on his new three-point dance after beating Kings
    "Smith promises more dancing to come this season, pending the scoreboard. "If the game is all said and done, then I can do it. Other than that, I'll be getting back on defense," he said."

    Blazersedge: Game 3 Preview: Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers
    "If Denver has a thin spot it's at small forward where former New York even-more-fan-favorite Danilo Gallinari takes his bows. Gallinari isn't consistent. He'll disappear on you. But when he uncorks he looks like an All-Star with his shooting and all-around stat-stuffing. Behind him come a couple of transplanted shooting guards. Corey Brewer defends while former-Blazer Fernandez plays mini-Gallinari, shooting and scrambling. Both Brewer and Fernandez are capable of manning their natural position, of course, making Denver's backcourt even deeper than the frontcourt. Ty Lawson starts at point backed by another former Blazer, Andre Miller. Denver isn't afraid to play Miller and Lawson together either, providing a heady--if short--guard lineup. Arron Afflalo defends well as the starting shooting guard."

    Trail Blazers: Fan Blog: After two Games
    "The Nuggets come to the Rose Garden on the second night of a back-to-back, sporting a 2-0 record. While three of their stars are behind the Chinese wall, they've come out strong. In fact, they are one of three undefeated teams in the Northwest Division (along with Oklahoma City at 3-0 and Portland). Denver is not supposed to be a serious threat, but this is a divisional game, so anything probably goes. The Nuggets also will mark the first return to Portland for former Blazers Andre Miller and Rudy Fernandez. They story lines of this one abound."

    Ball Don't Lie: Shots fired, as Kendrick Perkins bashes Chris Webber on Twitter
    "Yikes. Playing the "get a ring, and we'll talk" card is always tough, because Perkins was the weak (although integral) link in a Boston starting lineup that won the 2008 title, and Webber was the best player on several championship-level Sacramento Kings teams that fell just short. But it does appear that Perkins has a legitimate gripe."

    Ball Don't Lie: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook had a spat on the Thunder bench
    "For the most part, the discussion has been theoretical rather than based on several events. However, on Tuesday night, that perceived tension turned into something a little more tangible. Late in the second quarter of the team's 98-95 road win over the Memphis Grizzlies, Westbrook passed to an open Thabo Sefolosha for a corner three. Sefolosha passed up the shot, which caused Westbrook to tell him to "shoot the (expletive) ball." Several teammates, including Durant, thought he overreacted and tried to calm him down. Then things escalated on the bench, and Durant and Westbrook had to be separated. Probably because they hate each other!"

    The Basketball Jones: 2011-12 Fantasy basketball rankings: Centers
    "Nene was arguably the most sought after free agent this past offseason, but it sure did take him a while to get a new contract. He re-signed with the Nuggets and this will pretty much give you an idea of what to expect, fantasy-wise since he’s been mile high his whole NBA career — nice points and rebounds with excellent contributions in field goal percentage and collective defensive stats. Nene doesn’t give his fantasy hoops owners anything outstanding, but he won’t hurt a team either. He could grab more boards with Kenyon Martin in China and because of my utter lack of faith in Timofey Mozgov doing anything. Yes, I do think Nene will eventually switch back to playing the five spot and he will add very good production to any fantasy team."

    The Basketball Jones: The League Pass countdown — Who to watch and why
    "This is maybe (definitely) unfair to the Blazers and their highly respectable level of play and watchability, but I’m just done with the drama. Every year, it’s a new tragedy with these guys, and while I feel for their fanbase and while yay for Gerald Wallace and LaMarcus Aldridge and Jamal Crawford and an almost-certain fourth-straight first-round playoff exit, I just can’t take it anymore from a team that I don’t have to root for. If Greg Oden should actually return to the lineup and play consistently towards the end of the season, they could maybe win me back, but … yeah. Can’t imagine too many people taking that bet, and that’s kind of the point, isn’t it?"

    DIME: Daily Fantasy Diagnosis: 12.29
    "Jarrett Jack: 8-17 FG (47%), 5-5 FT (100%), 21 Pts, 4 Reb, 9 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk, 1 TO; No surprise here. Jack played 38 minutes in a blowout victory. With no reliable backup PG on the Hornets’ roster, Jack is in for serious minutes and stat lines for the foreseeable future."

    SLAM: Post-Up: Durant Digs In
    "The story of the game, though, was Kevin Durant. After starting just 1-of-7 from the field, Durant made nine of his next 10 shots, finishing 10-17 for 32 points, plus 8 boards, 3 assists and 2 blocks."

    ESPN: Daily Dime
    "Against the Clippers on Wednesday night, San Antonio showed off its "corporate knowledge" as, time and time again, players made the extra pass at the right moment to find teammates open for good looks. "Give San Antonio credit," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said after the game. "They were cutting hard and they were moving the basketball."


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