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Around The World: February 8

  1. Written by: DHawes22

    February 8 Video: Trail Blazers Courtside

    Oregon Live: LaMarcus Aldridge's All-Star quest: Blazers forward wants to reward his mom
    "It's a lock," Brooks said Monday, before Aldridge had 39 points. "You have to reward the guys who play like All-Stars and he has definitely done that."

    Sports Illustrated: Point Forward’s Western Conf. All-Stars
    "Aldridge made our All-Star team last season and finished at No. 11 in our summer top 100, so it’s no surprise he gets the nod again, during his best season to date. Aldridge is ninth overall in PER and is one of the league’s true franchise centerpieces. One knock remains — defensive rebounding — but otherwise, he has made an across-the-board jump on both ends. He’s shooting more often and more accurately, earning more free throws and dishing assists at a good level for a big man. Aldridge is thriving night to night even as Portland’s supporting players are inconsistent, and he uses his length and smarts to work as a very solid defender."

    Sports Illustrated: Aldridge may soon be an All-Star, but he has room for improvement
    "Setting aside the result, this game showed why Aldridge will be named to his debut All-Star team Thursday. Blazers point guard Raymond Felton was sidelined, and yet Aldridge carried the Blazers on 14-of-28 shooting. The rest of his teammates were 27-of-69 for 39.1 percent from the field, and they were unable to finish possessions around Aldridge while their six-point lead vanished over the last two minutes."

    Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers v. Rockets Preview
    "The NBA announced on Tuesday that Aldridge made a good block and that there shouldn't have been a goaltending call, but McMillan isn't going to dwell on the play. What bothers him even more was his team getting dominated on the boards by 20."

    Trail Blazers: Nolan Smith Finds A New Respect At Schoolhouse Supplies Spelling Bee
    "It's nervous when you're out of your comfort zone," said Smith. "The basket court is our comfort zone, and we zone in. We really don't see anything but what is going on on that court. Spelling bee, you're looking out to the crowd, somebody is putting you on the spot telling you to spell something. On a piece of paper, I probably would have put a "Z" but out loud and in front of everybody, a mic, people looking at me, you definitely get a little nervous, anxious. You want to get it right, but the wrong letter came out."

    Oregon Live: Trail Blazers shootaround: Marcus Camby will start, Raymond Felton a gametime decision against Houston Rockets
    “That’s what Jay is saying to me — miss one more just to get that extra rest before we go on the road,” Felton said. “But I’m not really hearing that."

    Columbian: Aldridge seeks ‘closer’ role for Blazers
    "Asked if he thought of himself that way, Aldridge responded: “Of course. I feel like I try to score, get to the free throw line or pass to open teammates if I get double teamed. That’s what closers do down the stretch.”

    Blazersedge: Game 26 Preview: Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers
    "Houston's offense is surprisingly efficient considering the patchwork lineup they field, again a credit to Lowry's point guard play. They're right down the middle in shooting percentage, three-point percentage, effective field goal percentage. Their huge downfall is lack of free throw attempts. They're last in the league in that category on a per-game basis. They'll run and they're good in the paint. They just don't get the extra points from the stripe. They're excellent offensive rebounders, however, and the Blazers will have to watch the boards carefully to avoid a repeat of Monday's Oklahoma City debacle."

    Blazersedge: The Hidden Cost of "The Call"
    "LaMarcus Aldridge also had that Griffin-esque moment against the Thunder Monday. The game was down to, in effect, one meaningful possession. The opponent was the greatest scorer in the game today, a guy totally unstoppable by mortals. Durant got the drive he wanted and the shot he wanted. And Aldridge, without help and without mercy, snuffed him out. The layers of meaning here are manifold. This may have been more of a defining moment than Griffin's because Blake already gets plenty of hype whereas Aldridge toils in relative obscurity. One of the main questions surrounding Aldridge has been whether he's a big-time player, a true team leader. With one swoop of his arm LaMarcus declared to his teammates, Portland fans, and the world that he could be trusted not just for stats but to make the plays necessary to propel his team to victories. And he did it on the defensive end. He showed the power of defense in general and his own in particular...a critical lesson and assurance for any team trying to become great instead of just good. This was the rallying point. This was the moment where everybody pointed to LaMarcus and said, "He stared down the giant and took him out, saving all of us. We can get behind him and he won't let us down." This was the eternally-repeated SportsCenter highlight. This was the All-Star lock moment. This was the exact instant when everybody looked at LaMarcus Aldridge and said, "He has become more than just a player. He is The Man." This was the moment that made not only the Thunder, but everybody in the league, wonder if playing the Blazers was safe as long as Aldridge's sneakers hit the floor. This was neither the first nor the last pivotal moment of Aldridge's career, but it was a darn-hard-to-replace chance to take the next step into a possible evolution to superstardom."

    ESPN: Future Power Rankings
    "The good news is that Allen remains willing to spend for a winner, that the Blazers potentially have cap space to chase a star and that Aldridge is a fantastic centerpiece. Instead, the familiar story is their struggle to get from here to the league's upper crust. "

    Oregon Live: NBA High-5: It might not have been part of a curse, but Chauncey Billups' injury is a big blow to Clippers
    "That's when the team learned that guard Chauncey Billups will miss the rest of the season with a torn Achilles' tendon suffered Monday against the Magic. The news hit the Clippers hard, with backcourt mate Chris Paul writing on Twitter that Tuesday was the "toughest day to date for me as an NBA player," and "I'm having a hard time understanding this one."

    Ball Don't Lie Via Chicago Sun Time: Will Ferrell will run the player intros at Wednesday’s Bulls/Hornets game
    "Actor Will Ferrell will be handling The player Intros Tonight. He's filming a movie."

    Ball Don't Lie: Seattle is still working hard to get an NBA team, but at what cost to Sacramento?
    "It is. Seattle is not willing to subsidize an NBA/NHL arena. Yes, the fan support there for an NBA team is significant, but the voters have spoken time and time again. A new arena has to come about privately. And then, on top of that, there has to be an available team. And because the NBA is unwilling to take the PR hit and move the Hornets out of New Orleans, sadly all attention has focused on Sacramento."

    Ball Don't Lie: On Paul Pierce’s incredible, sometimes unlikely, run as a Boston Celtic
    "He's lucky that Kevin Garnett finally gave in and asked to be traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves after GM Kevin McHale had resisted overtures (and some pretty significant compensation) from the Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns in the years leading up to the summer of 2007. He's lucky that the then-Seattle SuperSonics were willing to give up Ray Allen for cap space years later and the pittance of a draft pick that turned out to be Jeff Green (one of GM Sam Presti's rare missteps). He's lucky that Presti didn't try to grab Theo Ratliff's expiring contract in that deal, clearing the way for the KG trade."

    The Basketball Jones: Believe it or not, Stephen Jackson is unhappy in Milwaukee
    “I can’t answer that. If I answer that, I’ll get fined.” — Stephen Jackson, when asked if he wanted to be in Milwaukee"

    DIME: Daily Fantasy Basketball Diagnosis: 2/8
    "Monta Ellis was huge last night, finishing with 48 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals, a block and three three-pointers. He shot 62 percent (18-29) from the field, 90 percent (9-10) from the free-throw line and had three turnovers. Ellis is having himself another fine season, despite a rough patch late in January. He’s a top 40 fantasy asset so far this NBA season."

    DIME: Blake Griffin Leads All-Star Weekend’s Rising Stars
    "The Rising Stars Challenge is a switch on the former Rookie/Sophomore game, though it was still voted on by assistant coaches. Now, they’ll be mixed together with Charles Barkley and Shaq choosing and coaching the teams. Each squad gets nine guys."

    SLAM: Post-Up: Still Fly
    "The final two points of Steve Nash’s 18-point, 11-assist performance came on a driving layup banked in off the glass with 5 seconds to play, putting the Suns in front for good on his 38th birthday. Phoenix held the Bucks without a shot attempt in the final seconds (kudos to Stephen Jackson for holding the rock ’til the buzzer) and picked up the W to move to 11-14 on the year. It was also a homecoming of sorts for Michael Redd, who scored 14 points off the bench in the city where he once played. Brandon Jennings had a, well, weird game. He scored just 3 points (1-4 shooting)—and they came on a game-tying triple with 3 minutes to play in the game. But Milwaukee couldn’t stop Nash down the stretch, and the Bucks lost their third straight game (10-14) despite a season-high 25 points from Drew Gooden and and 17 and 12 off the bench from Ersan Ilyasova. Every Phoenix starter scored in double figures, but Marcin Gortat couldn’t quite get that double-double we’re so accustomed to seeing from him (21 points, 9 boards). C’mon, Mar-chine!"

    SLAM: City of Houston to Host 2013 NBA All-Star Weekend
    "“The 62nd NBA All-Star Game will be played on Sunday, Feb. 17, at the Toyota Center, which will also host the NBA Rising Stars Challenge and NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm. NBA All-Star Jam Session."

    ESPN: MVP Rankings
    "So Aldridge is 10 in the #NBAMVP but we are not completely sure if he's going to be selected to play in the All-Star Game. Something's wrong."


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