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Around The World: March 14

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

    March 13 Video: Trail Blazers 75, Pacers 92

    Trail Blazers: Preview: Trail Blazers At Knicks
    "The Knicks may be one of the few teams in the NBA whose current struggles equal, or exceed, those of the Trail Blazers. Losers of their last six games, the Knicks must contend with the pressure cooker that is the New York media market while also trying to hold onto the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. "

    Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers Fall 92-75 To Pacers
    "You have to be ready to play. They played well tonight and we didn’t," said Portland guard Wesley Matthews. "I don’t think we gave up. I don’t even focus on those words. That’s not even in my vocabulary. I don’t think anyone in this locker room is doing that."

    Oregon Live: Indiana 92, Portland 75: Poor shooting dooms Blazers to another road loss
    A few minutes before that, when Matthews was accidentally kicked in the groin by Dahntay Jones, he ripped out his mouthpiece and tossed it into the stands out of frustration. Matthews started wearing the mouth guard earlier this season because the Blazers' disappointing season was eating at him and it's supposed to help calm him down. Is it working? "What do you think?" he quipped. "Did you see me throw it?"

    Rip City Project: Game 43 Preview: Portland Trail Blazers at New York Knicks
    "Speaking of defense, the Blazers need to figure out a way to defend the paint. Against Indiana, Portland was late on a lot of pick and roll switches, and because of that gave up a lot of open shots in the lane and a lot of drives to the hoop. The Knicks are going to run the high pick-and-roll all night. The Blazers are going to have to defend the lane, and they’re going to have to defend the three-point line. If Portland is late on switches or getting out on shooters, it’s going to be a very very long night."

    Blazersedge via ESPN: Broussard: Blazers Talk Trades With Celtics & Lakers, Interested In Aaron Brooks?
    "The Celtics offered Paul Pierce to Portland -- I'm not sure what they asked for in return -- but the Blazers were not interested because of the two years and $32 million remaining on Pierce's contract."

    Blazersedge: Portland Trail Blazers vs. New York Knicks Preview
    "The first clue that things aren't going right for the Knicks: they're 2nd in the league in possession and pace as befits a Mike D'Antoni team but they're 15th in fast break points scored per game, 28th in fast break efficiency. They're 4th in three-pointers attempted per game and 27th in three-point percentage. They're 25th in assists per possession and 28th in turnovers per possession. It's like someone took D'Antoni and told him to coach the team from hell. All the drawbacks of the Phoenix system, none of the benefits. Only their points in the paint and free throw attempts keep the scoreboard from being a disaster."

    Blazersedge: Portland Trail Blazers 75, Indiana Pacers 92: Indiana Pulls an Inside Job, Marcus Camby Goes Down
    "One look at the shot charts for this game will tell you all you need to know. In the first quarter the Blazers ATTEMPTED only 3 shots in the paint. In the second that number fell to 2. Granted, foul shots on drives made up for many of the missing attempts, but no matter how many fouls were committed 5 attempts in the paint in a half is pathetic. The Blazers have been better than expected overall at scoring in the paint. It's a big, red flag about effort. It's not like the entire team bailed. Everybody had moments of effort. But nobody sustained it. Against a good defensive team like Indiana that ends you up with a 31% shooting rate, a 19-3 fast break point deficit, and only 6 offensive rebounds on 44 misses. It's not like the Pacers were an offensive powerhouse. Portland just didn't do enough to get a leg up on them. Right now the Blazers need the other team to hand them a game in order to win it."

    Ball Don't Lie: It’s not a franchise-saver, but the Bucks scored big in acquiring Monta Ellis
    "What happens next is the killer, but at least the Bucks will have plenty of options moving forward. A 24-game-plus-possible-postseason sample size of Ellis and Jennings' cohesion probably won't be telling, but both are under contract for the next season. The Bucks, fresh off of Drew Gooden's career year, could waive either him or Beno Udrih with the amnesty clause, and have a good chunk of cap space to work with heading into 2012-13. And if the pairing isn't working, or Jennings wants out, the team could completely start over if Ellis decides he's worth more than the $11 million he's owed in 2013-14 and opts out of the final year of that contract, while letting Jennings walk in his turn as a restricted free agent."

    Ball Don't Lie: Dwight Howard’s indelicate trade deadline work is causing all sorts of problems
    "And the obvious is leaking into the work of those, on deadline, that are shaping the way we view the NBA. ESPN's mobile application called Orlando's overtime win over Miami on Tuesday Howard's "home finale," while the NBA store already started selling Nets jerseys with Dwight Howard's name on them before quickly stopping that practice. Meanwhile, the Magic's coaching staff is beyond frayed -- they want Dwight gone, not because the team would be any better in the short term, but because they'd like to gather some assets to work with beyond this season. And the whole affair -- and Howard's public disingenuous -- has become rather disheartening."

    Ball Don't Lie: Video: Travis Outlaw basically just tackles Nate Robinson
    "Unfortunately, as I learned very early in my youth basketball career, tackling ballhandlers is pretty illegal. Then again, because the foul was called on the floor, Robinson didn't get to the line and missed his next shot (a deep 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, which is the most Nate Robinson shot), so, I guess, good job, Travis. Strong defense. Keep it up."

    DIME: NBA Trade Rumor: Carmelo Anthony Wants out of New York via NY Post
    "According to a person familiar with his thinking, Anthony’s disillusionment stems most from a belief coach Mike D’Antoni and interim GM Glen Grunwald do not trust him. He is surprised that after all the Knicks gave up to trade for him, he has not been asked for more input on personnel decisions, as Deron Williams has with the Nets. “The organization makes believe his opinions don’t matter,’’ the source said."

    DIME: Goran Dragic Puts The “Kobe Bryant” On Serge Ibaka
    "Goran Dragic played 38 minutes and scored 12 points, but his biggest contribution was probably getting inside Russell Westbrook‘s head in the closing minutes. The two nearly came to blows and it threw Westbrook off his game. Dragic did make one nice basketball move: This one where he put the “Kobe Bryant” on Serge Ibaka. "

    DIME: Daily Fantasy Basketball Diagnosis: 3.14
    "Josh Smith busted out something nasty last night, to the tune of 33 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, one steal, two blocks and two three-pointers. He shot 57 percent (13-23) from the floor and 100 percent (5-5) from the free-throw line, and had one turnover. After shooting a miserable 41 percent from the field in February, Smith is hitting 51 percent of his shots to go along with his 26.6 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.9 blocks and 1.1 threes per game through the first seven games of March."

    DIME: Monta Ellis’ Top 10 Plays As A Warrior
    "But enabled by the frenetic pace former coach Don Nelson preferred from 2006-10, Ellis thrived as a feared scorer who helped prove the recent trend that smaller guards don’t need to only be distributors to find success. He not only would put up points, but he had a habit of making opponents look bad in the process."

    SLAM: Post-Up: Please Don't Go
    "It’s tough to win a game when you only make 20 field goals, and such was Portland’s fate last night in Indiana. The Trail Blazers shot 31 percent from the field, making just 9 shots in the first half in what was a forgettable outing. The Pacers, on the other hand, got big performances from their second unit, including a career-high 21 points from Lou Amundson (yes, they were chanting “MVP!” in Indy, sarcastically one would have to hope) and sparkplug play from George Hill, who finished with 11 points and 3 assists, who helped run the show with Danny Granger and Paul George fighting early foul trouble. Portland was led by LaMarcus Aldridge’s 17 points and 10 garbage-time points from Nolan Smith, but no other Blazers scored in double figures. The Blazers recorded an NBA season-low 5 assists for the game (the Pacers had 24) and were outrebounded 50-38, thanks in part to Marcus Camby leaving in the first quarter with a shoulder injury."

    ESPN: Should Orlando Trade Dwight Howard?
    "Fact. Dwight's indecisiveness should be setting off alarm bells among Orlando management. At this point, if you're the Magic, you forget about "rolling the dice" -- at the very least, that would mean sacrificing a potential first-rounder to any prospective trade partner. With Monta Ellis -- one of the few guys Howard claimed might keep him in Central Florida -- headed to Milwaukee, you have to trade D12 now and hope against hope that you get a Melo-type haul in return."


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