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Around The World: February 9

  1. Written by: DHawes22

    February 9 Video: Trail Blazers 96, Rockets 103 Video: Nate McMillan Post-Game Interview

    Trail Blazers: February Is The Cruelest Month For LaMarcus Aldridge's Opponents
    “It's weird, I really do feel like I'm on point right now,” said Aldridge of his February performances. “I feel like my game is getting better every game. I feel like I'm learning where my shots are. I have a really good rhythm right now.”

    ESPN: Aldridge finds light in dark matter
    "After the All-Star Game [snub], I was on a mission to, like, kill everybody," Aldridge said. "Being in that mindset of trying to kill everybody kind of put me in a good rhythm and showed me how I should be every night. I've taken that same mentality -- I have to prove something every night -- and I've carried it over to this year. It's going well for me. Being that mad was good for me. It showed me how you have to think every night."

    ESPN: LaMarcus Aldridge, All-Star?
    "He says the key is to get the defense trying to prevent a pass to him as he enters the lane. "If I duck in four or five times, and they're defending that hard, then if I spin off of them that lob is going to be there. It's more of a read of how teams are playing me. If I'm feeling his weight, and he's leaning on me, then I can spin out easier. ... It's normally from [Marcus] Camby at the top of the key. He normally reads how my guy is guarding me and then I just spin and he's a really good passer. He always puts it on point. "

    Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers 96, Rockets 103: Post-Game Notes
    "Crawford is now 70-of-74 from the free throw line this season, his 94.6% from the charity stripe is the second highest in the NBA (J.J. Redick 95.5%)."

    Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers End Homestand With Consecutive Home Losses
    "We never defended them right from the start. That team was scoring pretty easily," McMillan said. "We've got to work harder defensively. At the start of the game you establish yourself, both offensively and defensively, and we never did that...We're getting a team out there where at times we can't score and then at times we need defense. You can't play that way."

    Oregon Live: Blazers Insider: Players aren't only ones feeling sick after another Blazers loss
    "It seems so simple, right?" Matthews said. "I don't know, but we are playing tight. Playing not to mess up. Not to lose. That's not how we are. You look at this team we have dawgs, guys who just get after it, who don't think, basketball is just second nature. We just go out and play. That's when you see us at our best. We are just overthinking the game, overthinking ourselves. We are not staying in character."

    Oregon Live: Blazers-Rockets: Kevin McHale's handling of bench contrasts that of Nate McMillan
    “Those other guys were playing well,” McHale said. “When you’ve got team where guys are playing well, you’ve got to reward the guys that are playing well, and they played well enough to finish the game.”

    Oregon Live: Houston 103, Portland 96: Blazers crumble late in loss to Rockets
    "I really have no explanation," point guard Raymond Felton said. "I have nothing to tell you as to why we're doing it, why it's going on. But we have to figure it out as a team. We're definitely frustrated. We say the same things. It's like playing a tape recorder. We're saying the same things every game. It's just frustrating in that sense."

    Portland Tribune: Reserves make Rockets soar past Blazers
    " “In the first half, we were a step slow,” said Jamal Crawford, who led Portland with 21 points and six assists in 28 minutes off the bench. “Not just one or two guys; everybody was a step slow. In the second half, I could tell right away we had some more pop. But when you play catch up, you have to almost play perfect.”

    Rip City Project: Game 26 Recap: Blazers 96, Rockets 103
    "But it wasn’t just slow defensive rotations and shot clock buzzer beaters that killed Portland. It was unfinished defensive plays just in general. One play stands out above all the others. With just under three minutes to play and the Blazers trailing 96-90, Budinger launched a high-arching three from the corner and drew front iron. Nobody in a Portland jersey reacted fast enough to stop Budinger from sweeping in, grabbing the long rebound, and scoring at the rim, turning a two possession game into a three possession game."

    Blazersedge: Media Row Report: Rockets 103, Blazers 96
    "There are endless places that can be -- and have been -- pointed to for potential, hypothetical improvement. It's a bit of a boring exercise, but here's a short list. Gerald Wallace could bring more consistent energy and make more shots at the rim; Raymond Felton could shoot the ball better and protect the ball better; Wesley Matthews could get back to the comfort zone he felt during portions of last season; Jamal Crawford could exercise better shot selection; Nicolas Batum could play more minutes or produce more in his reserve role, chiefly by "becoming more aggressive"; LaMarcus Aldridge could grow into a go-to scorer down the stretch; Rhino could grow wings and learn how to fly; Portland could get back to pushing tempo more often to create more high percentage looks; Portland quit playing from behind so much so that Marcus Camby could play more late in games; and Portland could extend its flashes of intense team defense, making that its calling card instead of just an unpredictable very pleasant surprise."

    Ball Don't Lie: Video: Will Ferrell introduces the Hornets
    "The intros did in fact proceed as planned, and you can watch the Hornets' five above. It's standard Ferrell fare, full of non sequiturs and other absurd gags that could only have come from the man who once decided to build a movie around the character of an arrogant figure skater. It's also somewhat clear he didn't know much about many of the players and based much of his material on bits from the media guide. How else to explain that Emeka Okafor majored in economics and minored in love while at the University of Connecticut? There's more, of course, including one player who loves of Bel Biv Devoe and another who wants to become a rodeo clown after retirement. It's up to you to decide if any of these "facts" are real."

    The Basketball Jones via ESPN: It’s all LeBron James’ fault
    “I’m an easy target; if someone wants to get a point across — just throw LeBron’s name in there,” James said. “You could be watching cartoons with your kids and you don’t like it, you say, ‘Blame it on LeBron.’ If you go to the grocery store and they don’t have the milk that you like, you just say, ‘It’s LeBron’s fault.’ “

    DIME: Daily Fantasy Basketball Diagnosis: 2.9
    "Dwight Howard posted 25 points, 24 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks last night, his sixth 20/20 game of the season. He shot 64 percent (9-14) from the field, 70 percent (7-10) from the free-throw line and had three turnovers. Howard’s averaging 25.4 points, 16.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.4 steals and 2.8 blocks in his five games so far this month."

    SLAM: SLAMonline’s 2012 All-Star Reserves
    "Blake may get the hype and Love may have the numbers, but an argument could easily be made that Lamarcus Aldridge is the best power forward in the NBA. When it comes to scoring in the half court, he’s as good as any big man in the league."

    SLAM: Post-Up: 20-20 Vision
    "Uh-oh. The Rockets got a big win, but not before Kyle Lowry exited the game in the third quarter with an apparent right arm injury. He did not return to the game. Yikes. Dude has been absolutely balling this year, so hopefully by the time you’re reading this we have more (and good) news. In his absence, Houston’s bench went to work on the Blazers, as Chase Budinger led all scorers with 22 points, Courtney Lee had 16 and they helped the rest of the Rockets bench combine for 66 points. Houston led by as many as 19, but let Portland get back in the game and tie it at 77 on a LaMarcus Aldridge dunk in the fourth. LMA scored 13 points, while Jamal Crawford (21) and Gerald Wallace (20) shouldered the scoring load for the Blazers. But the Rockets finished with a 53 percent field goal percentage and won the rebounding battle 39-29. Praying for Lowry…"

    SLAM via LA Times: Mo Williams Mad the Clippers Haven’t Given Him a Contract Extension
    “I just want to know where I stand with the Clippers.’ Translation: He’s looking for a contract extension. Me, me, and me, he’s saying, as we sit down to talk about life without Billups, and why am I not surprised? He was upset when the Clippers acquired Paul and Billups, two future Hall of Famers to buoy a long-lost franchise. Everyone is talking about what it might mean to have the Clippers improve so quickly except for Williams, who wants to know, what about me? ‘I want to play,’ he says in explaining his attitude, but what he really means to say is, he wants to start. But aren’t Paul and Billups better players? ‘I’ll let you decide,’ Williams says."

    NBA: Nash, Love and the other Gasol top our list of West reserves
    "The challenge was for Aldridge to step up and fill the leadership void in the absence of Brandon Roy. He has answered the call in a big way, keeping the Blazers in the playoff hunt. He's doing it in more ways than simply putting the ball into the hoop, too. His PER of 23.5 ranks seventh in the league, ranking ahead of Blake Griffin. Toss in the fact that he was robbed last year and this is a no-brainer."


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