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Around The World: Feb 13

  1. Written by: DHawes22

    February 13 Video: Elliot Williams Interviews Nolan Smith Video: LaMarcus Aldridge's Top 10 Plays Video: Trail Blazers 94, Mavericks 97

    Trail Blazers: LaMarcus Aldridge Doesn't Fear Double Jeopardy
    “If we're getting double-teamed and we're not making them pay, then that bothers me,” said Aldridge. “As the game went on we started getting to the basket, Jamal (Crawford) started making shots, Ray (Felton) made some threes and I feel like that's when I started feeling better about it, because if I'm getting taken out of the game and we're not getting nothing from it then I'm getting frustrated. I'm not doing my job. But if I'm forcing them to play me and we're scoring out of it, that's what I want. I don't mind not scoring, but we have to get something out of it.”

    DIME: The 10-Day Contract Life: How Portland’s Chris Johnson Survived A Midseason Call-Up
    “Really my D-League coaches tell the whole team you just can’t go and expect to be a go-to guy,” Johnson says. “You have to go in and know you’re a role player and not even play. You have to do what’s expected of you. Nate (McMillan) told me he wanted energy from me, just coming in with energy, block shots, get rebounds and he doesn’t care if you make mistakes.”

    Trail Blazers: Portland Forces Double-OT In Dallas
    "I thought our guys fought tonight to get themselves back into the game, and to give ourselves a chance to win the game," said Portland coach Nate McMillan. "We've just got to make breaks for ourselves. We have opportunities and we've had them all season long where you've got to make plays. You've got to make shots, you've got to get stops, and, again, tonight we don't make shots when we have the opportunity."

    Trail Blazers: Another Missed Opportunity
    "Yet, the team was in a position to beat the defending champs on their home court. Is that a reason for optimism, or is this this just another brick in this growing mental wall that has boxed this team into a corner of late-game despair? We can wring our hands all we want, but it's up to the team to answer that question."

    Oregon Live: Felton isn't the only one under the microscope as McMillan says he needs to look at entire rotation
    “We’ve got guys who are battling with confidence right now,’’ McMillan said. “Like tonight, Nic I thought hesitated on the shot, so let’s get Wesley in. You gotta shoot the ball. So my thing is, it’s really no hesitation to make that substitution if I think you don’t have it, or you can’t get your rhythm, as opposed to earlier (in the season), it was ‘OK. Let them play it out.’ We don’t now. We are going to change. I have to give us the best chance to win.’’

    Oregon Live: Blazers insider: Clock runs out on Felton
    "McMillan has already started to trend toward featuring Crawford at point guard. For the past week or so, he has used the tandem together, but has ordered Crawford to handle the ball and initiate the offense. Crawford has had some of his best performances in this role, primarily at New Orleans, when he had 31 points and eight assists. He also had 21 and six against Houston and eight assists against Denver. What's more, Crawford is creating opportunities and shots for his teammates, and thereby is a threat. Yeah, he is still taking -- and missing -- a lot of shots. But this team is more dangerous when he has the ball than when Felton does."

    Columbian: Thomas knocks down shots, not players
    "According to, Thomas, the NBA’s oldest player, is shooting 59 percent this season between distances of 16 and 23 feet. Not only is that 15 percentage points better than Aldridge, but it’s among the best in the NBA."

    Blazersedge: Fundamental Issues
    "The players affected by this phenomenon include LaMarcus Aldridge, Gerald Wallace, Craig Smith, and for the most part Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford. As soon as they put the ball on the floor one of three things is going to happen: they put up a shot, they pick up their dribble and bail out of the play, or disaster ensues. Felton and Crawford earn a "for the most part" because each is capable of making a pass off the dribble but their natural mode is scoring. They look far more at ease and in tune with the game when they're headed towards their own shot than when they're trying to make a play. It's ironic because this is the inverse of the problem the Blazers had with Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Rodriguez. Both had astonishing ability to pass off the dribble but neither was a good decision-maker or scorer. The grass is always greener."

    Two Man Game: The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 97, Portland Trail Blazers 94
    "It’s a genuine curiosity that Portland didn’t operate through LaMarcus Aldridge (33 points, 14-26 FG, 12 rebounds, one turnover) on every single offensive possession in both overtimes. Nate McMillan’s teams are typically fantastic at running plays that put the best players in a position to succeed and rely on those players to create (via scores in their comfort zone, passes out of double-teams, etc.), but the Blazer offense was entirely too reliant on Felton and Jamal Crawford (19 points, 6-23 FG, three turnovers) down the stretch. I don’t mean too harp too much on the final 10 minutes alone, but considering how good of a shot creator Aldridge has become, the Blazers’ closing possession distribution was pretty indefensible. Dallas defended Aldridge with Brendan Haywood for much of the game, and despite Haywood’s best efforts to contest shots, deny position, and limit angles for potential hook shots, Aldridge converted bucket after bucket. The man only forced both overtime periods with difficult, contested scores, after all. I’m not precisely sure who should be to blame for Portland’s uncharacteristic misuse of resources (McMillan? Crawford? Felton? Aldridge himself? LeBron James?), but someone in the Blazers’ locker room has some ’splaining to do."

    Ball Don't Lie: LeBron threatened to beat up a heckler. You gotta problem with that, tough guy?
    "You want to put on your tough guy pants and lob things at athletes just because you paid for a ticket? You're going to have to hear back from them. LeBron, and no other athlete, is under any obligation to offer a meek "thank you for your comment and your continued patronage" as a reply.''

    DIME: Daily Fantasy Basketball Diagnosis: 2.13 (Weekend Recap)
    "Kevin Love came up big this past weekend, averaging 32.0 points, 16.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks and a three in two games. He shot 49 percent from the field, 100 percent from the line and averaged 4.0 turnovers in that stretch. For the season, Love is averaging top five numbers, which is exactly where he was pegged by most fantasy owners in this season’s drafts."

    SLAM: Post-Up: Mr. Bean
    "One game after beating Denver, Monta Ellis scored 33 points on 23 shots, and added 7 assists and 5 boards to pace Golden State past Houston, another Western Conference team with a winning record. Ellis helped the Warriors turn a two-point lead after three quarters into a comfortable double-digit lead late in the fourth, and as a team, GSW shot better than 50 percent for the game. David Lee chipped in a 15/13/6 line including a nice putback slam and Stephen (or “Steff-Fawn”?) Curry and Klay Thompson scored 14 apiece. After four games scoring less than 10 points, Kevin Martin broke out for 28 points, and Luis Scola scored 14 points to go with 13 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to get past the Warriors, who are now 10-14 (7-8 at home). Kyle Lowry had a rough shooting night (3-10, 10 points), but did have 9 dimes. The Rockets lost despite winning the rebounding battle 47-35—19 turnovers didn’t help. Houston (16-12) gets Memphis, OKC and Minnesota this week."

    ESPN: When he returns, will Carmelo Anthony struggle to adjust to Lin?
    "He should shift away from his previously necessary responsibilities as a point forward, and work more persistently without the ball. He's likely to do the former, but I'm not so sure about the latter; flashing toward the ball handler to initiate an iso shouldn't pass as legitimate off-ball movement for a wing player, but sometimes with Melo, that's as close as it gets."


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