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Around The World: February 20

  1. Written by: DHawes22

    February 20 Video: Trail Blazers 97, Hawks 77

    Oregon Live: Batum becomes a game-changer for the Blazers
    "In one of the highlights of the Blazers' season and Batum's career, he drove past a defender on the right wing and into the middle of the key, where the only thing separating him from a bucket were two Washington defenders, including the NBA's second-leading shot blocker, JaVale McGee. But instead of finessing his way to the rim with a layup, as he did against Oklahoma City, Batum skied high and posterized them both with a powerful one-handed dunk. "I had no reaction because I was like, 'Did I dunk on two guys? Yes. And a foul? OK,'" Batum said, smiling, as he recalled the moment. "

    Trail Blazers: NBA.Com Grades Are In
    "A pretty fair assessment, in my opinion, especially considering every other team in the Northwest Division, aside from teacher's pet Oklahoma City, got a B. The team got their highest individual mark at frontcourt, with the work of LaMarcus Aldridge and Marcus Camby earning a solid A, with the lowest mark, C-, given to the backcourt. Again, hard to argue with any of those grades based off of the first 30 games. "

    Columbian: Calkins: An open letter to Brandon Roy
    "Jamal said that he doesn’t think you watch too many Blazers games these days, and that’s not surprising when you think about it. But we’re halfway through the season, and I think most people expected you to say hello by now. A whole season without Brandon Roy? It just doesn’t seem ... natural."

    Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers Invade Tinseltown For Road Tilt With Lakers
    "In the last meeting between the Trail Blazers and Lakers, Jan. 5, Portland (17-15) celebrated a 107-96 victory at the Rose Garden, bringing the team's early record to 5-1. Highlights from that contest can help illuminate some of the inconsistencies that have hampered the Trail Blazers, who have gone 10-13 since starting the season 7-2."

    Trail Blazers: Trail blazers 97, Hawks 77: Post-Game Notes
    "Nicolas Batum scored 22 points in his fourth consecutive start, Batum is averaging 20.6 points-per-game in his last five games. Batum’s also scored 17 points or more in four consecutive games for the second time in his career (Nov. 6-12, 2010)."

    Trail Blazers: LaMarcus Aldridge Knows What Needs To Be Fixed
    "Just more sharp. I feel like we haven't really shot the ball well up until this point. We've had games on and off where we've shot the ball well, but I think we have got to get more sharp offensively and defensively. We have to get more closer, better chemistry on the court and I feel like once these things happen for us we're going to take off. But until we connect to that level and we start shooting the ball better, we're going to keep losing these close games."

    Trail Blazers: Aldridge And Felton Focus On Moving Forward
    “It’s a relief to be back to yourself,” Felton said. “To be back smiling, just playing basketball the way I know. Playing off instincts, playing at my pace, just having fun out there.”

    Trail Blazers: A Complete Win At The Rose Garden
    "This was really the first chance we got to see this new starting lineup, that debuted in the Washington game, but was quickly undone when Aldridge rolled his ankle less than two minutes into that game. With Nic Batum starting at the off-guard spot, and Wallace at the small-forward position, the Trail Blazers can really cause matchup trouble for opponents. Tonight we got a look at that with LaMarcus healthy again."

    Oregon Live: Blazers Insider: Amid discontent, Nate McMillan stands by his system
    "Of course you hear it, but you don't even have to hear it," McMillan said on Saturday. "You drop four (home) games, you lose to Washington, and you know what people are thinking and how they are feeling. So it's not that I'm walking out here assuming that people are not calling for my job. I get that. It's part of the business."

    Blazersedge: "Is Nate McMillan in Trouble?" Chapter Two
    "Granted we've heard from a couple grumpy guards in the last week but the team's on-court play has spoken for itself. Even when fatigue robbed them of the ability to execute, these players left everything on the court in each of their last three games. They've been on the floor, they've been on the boards, they were even on the rack after that loss to L.A., their anguished, exhausted eyes telling how much they wanted the game, that they felt they should have won it. Portland's response to the Washington loss was not resignation, but pride. They didn't fracture, they fought. Maybe they fought for themselves, maybe they fought for each other, maybe they fought for their coaching staff. Maybe they just fought because they're professionals. Any way you slice it, that effort was not the response of a team begging for new leadership. It was the response of a team listening to its current leaders and providing extra effort of its own on top of it."

    Blazersedge: Game 33 Preview: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers
    "The best chance the Blazers have is to force the Lakers to win with deep shots. Portland needs to keep a wing--Batum, Wallace, Matthews, even Aldridge--watching Kobe at all times and pack the interior to keep Bynum and Gasol from easy looks. Anything outside for those two bigs (and anything the rest of the team can do, period) should be acceptable. Bryant shooting deep after a dribble should also be acceptable. If the Blazers can grab a rebound and push, they'll have the Lakers on their heels and the game in hand. Bynum is always a worry when the game slows down, but the Blazers have managed to make him miserable more often than not. Let's hope that trend continues. More to the point, don't play down to L.A.'s tempo and you won't have as much to worry about. The Lakers are on the second night of a back-to-back. Make them pay, if possible."

    Blazersedge: Blazers C Greg Oden To Undergo Arthroscopic Procedure On Left Knee
    "Oden underwent the same arthroscopic procedure on his right knee on Feb. 3. Following that surgery, a "minor" blood clot was discovered in Oden's left ankle. The blood clot had to be addressed before Monday's surgery on his left knee could proceed, causing a slight delay in the timeline for Monday's procedure. It was originally expected that Oden would undergo this procedure last week."

    New Jersey: Anthony Morrow will wear Drazen Petrovic jersey to honor former Net during NBA All-Star break
    "Morrow has had the idea since he saw Petrovic's jersey hanging in the Nets' practice facility. After seeing the documentary, "Once Brothers" -- about the broken friendship between Petrovic and Vlade Divac -- he thought that if he had the chance to participate in All-Star weekend, he would honor the fallen hero. "I just remember -- I don't remember a whole lot -- but I remember he could shoot real, real good," Morrow said."

    New York Times: In the Ivy League’s Golden Age, Elite Universities With Teams to Match
    "Four years later, Petrie was Portland’s first-round draft pick and shared rookie of the year honors with Dave Cowens of the Boston Celtics. Petrie played six years in the N.B.A. and appeared in two All-Star Games. He twice scored 51 points in a game (three months apart in 1973 against the same team, Houston). The Trail Blazers retired his No. 45. ''

    Ball Don't Lie via ESPN LA: Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are pretty sick of the trade rumors around Gasol
    "I talked to (Gasol) a little bit about it," Bryant said. "It's just tough for a player to give his all when you don't know if you're going to be here tomorrow. I'd rather them not trade him at all. If they're going to do something, I wish they would just (expletive) do it. If they're not going to do it, come out and say you're not going to do it. This way he can be comfortable, he can go out, he can play and he can invest all of himself into the game."

    Ball Don't Lie via MLive: We’re not going to tank, says Detroit’s Lawrence Frank. And other bad rhymes
    "Our job is to give 100 percent, best effort, otherwise we're stealing money," Frank said in an interview with 97.1 The Ticket. "As I understand, from a theoretical standpoint, it's a great draft coming up, so let's get a lot of ping balls. But as a player or coach, if we think that way, they should fire us. You can't do it. One, we make a lot of money to go out and do our jobs. Also, for the people that support our team, that would be one heck of an indictment to know that your team wasn't giving its best effort because they were playing for next year."

    Ball Don't Lie: Worst-case scenario: ESPN editor didn’t mean to offend with the Lin comment, was fired anyway
    "I wrote as much on Saturday, in a post that received a fair bit of attention on the front of (which I feel awful about, despite my measured tone, as it was part of the reaction that likely led to his dismissal), and I meant it. If this was an unfortunate oversight, it has to be treated as such. This isn't an unfortunate oversight by someone driving a school bus or operating a crane in a busy construction site. He's an online editor. And not, like Jason Whitlock (who I didn't want to be fired, either) someone purposely making a bad joke."

    Ball Don't Lie: J.R. Smith debuts for the Knicks with inexplicable hair
    "As pointed out by several impolite people on Twitter, the haircut is similar to a popular hip-hop style from the '80s and early '90s, most widely seen on Tupac Shukar in the movie "Juice." However, to claim that they're the same is wrong, because Tupac's haircut at least served the same purpose as a sidepart. Smith has more or less bisected his head widthwise."

    DIME: Daily Fantasy Basketball Diagnosis: 2.20 (Weekend Recap)
    "Kevin Durant averaged 37.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.0 steals and 4.0 threes in his two games over the weekend. He shot 67 percent from the floor, 83 percent from the free-throw line and turned the ball over a total of 10 games in this stretch. Durant scored a career-high 51 points Sunday night. For the season, Durant is second only to LeBron James on the fantasy basketball totem pole."

    DIME: Happy Birthday Michael Jordan! His 10 Greatest Sneakers Ever
    "The Infrared 6 is by far the most classic Jordan shoe. The fact that Jordan won his first ring in these is what makes them the most special. Nothing can take away from the fact that these are the first of the series to get the job done for Michael. Finally getting over the hump and beating Magic and the Lakers in the Finals, Jordan officially began his reign as the best player in the world wearing the Infrared 6’s."

    SLAM: Post-Up: Thunderstruck
    "If a player scores 50+ points in a game, or even 40, it’s probably the most important thing that happened that night. Same goes for a triple-double. Well, on this night, the Oklahoma City Thunder accomplished all three of those feats: Kevin Durant scored a career-high 51 points, Russell Westbrook scored 40 and Serge Ibaka notched a triple-double in points (15), rebounds (14) and blocked shots (11). It’s the first time in NBA history a trio has done those three things in one basketball game, together. The last time a duo scored 40+ in the same game was Mike and Scottie with the Bulls in 1996. (That Ibaka’s line will probably be overlooked due to KD’s big night is a shame, by the way. 3×2 with blocks!) Most importantly, of course, the Thunder won the game, snatching away victory from the Nuggets in overtime after Durant tied things up on a driving dunk with under 10 seconds left to play in regulation. Seven Denver players scored in double figures, led by 27 from Arron Afflalo and 21 points and 10 dimes from Andre Miller. The Nuggets scored an absurd 72 points in the paint, but gave up a 14-point lead and are now 17-15 on the year. OKC is 24-7, No. 1 in the West and is now a certified nightmare for teams on a nightly basis."

    ESPN: Power Rankings
    "Sorry. Not ready to co-sign the theory that the Blazers' West-leading six wins by 20-plus points suggest great potential when they're No. 30 in games decided by five or less at 2-10. Always fearful about looming injuries, Portland has surely suffered psyche-wise as well from its late-game woes."

    ESPN: Handing Out Awards For NBA's First Half
    "But great, standout D is what earned Iguodala his first-ever invite to the All-Star Game ... and it's why he'll start the season's second half with a slight DPOY lead over Marion and Co. As Professor Hollinger likes to remind me, Philly ranks No. 1 in the NBA in defensive efficiency with a makeshift cast of bigs behind him thanks to Spencer Hawes' ongoing injury woes. Iguodala thus gets the early DPOTFH nod."


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