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Around The World: April 27

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

    April 27 Video: Trail Blazers 94, Jazz 96 Video: Hickson Posterizes Evans Video: Flynn Lobs To Hickson

    Trail Blazers: trail Blazers Drop Season Finale To Jazz
    "We played well enough to win it...That’s the story of the year. We didn’t do just enough to get over the hump. There are easily 18 games like that this season," Matthews said. "Credit the Jazz. They played well. They played hard. The reserve guys came out and played with a lot of energy. But at the same time… our guys really fought."

    Trail Blazers: David Thorpe Says Kendall Marshall Is 'The Perfect Fit' For Portland
    "He's a better "value" pick with the Blazers' second choice, but in a few years no one will care when he was selected. Marshall has the kind of game that Batum needs to play at his best -- someone who can find Batum sprinting or slashing so he does not need but a few dribbles to score. Matthews and Aldridge, too, would benefit from a great passer, and Marshall might be the best passing prospect in a decade."

    Oregon Live: Draft lottery watch: How the Blazers' pick from Nets stacks up after Thursday's season finales
    "The Nets and Kings will each have 75 combinations. Usually, the team with fifth-worst record gets 88 combos, and the sixth-worst gets 63. In this case, they are added together, then the 151 total is divided by two. The league will hold a drawing to determine which team gets the remaining combination."

    Oregon Live: Trail Blazers' Luke Babbitt doesn't win 3-point title, but he nets confidence with strong finish
    “This is the first step for all players: to get some minutes and see what you can do, see what you can work on,’’ Babbitt said. “But (this season) has increased my expectations for next year now. I know what my strengths are, but I also know that there’s a lot of areas I need to work on.’’

    Oregon Live: Utah 96, Portland 94: Missed shot at buzzer is fitting end to Blazers' season
    "This is one you try to forget about," Matthews said of the season. "You know me -- I'm not going to be able to. But it's something you try to do."

    Blazersedge: Reflections on the 2011-12 Season: The Portland Trail Blazers Lost More Than Just Games
    "Fans have felt it too. In yesterday's game preview I asked people to name their sentimental favorite player from this team, the guy they'd like to see come back regardless of stats or performance. This is Portland, folks. In almost any other era people would have split between the entire roster. In the past everybody hitched their wagon to at least one guy and in most years every player would have ended up as somebody's favorite. The general response to yesterday's post was, "I'm not overly attached to any of them." This isn't 2004 when every player seemed to have legal and/or community relations problems leading to justifiable distance between roster and fans. There's nothing radically wrong with these guys but the feeling just isn't there. A couple of years ago there would have been verbal fist-fights between those supporting Sergio or Rudy or Bayless. Now? Blah."

    Blazersedge: Portland Trail Blazers 94, Utah Jazz 96: Season Ends with a Flynntastic Performance and a Weird Non-Call
    "Both teams tightened up in the final frame. Portland couldn't score at all until they put in a small lineup, parts of which featured Kurt Thomas, J.J. Hickson, and three guards. Then the Blazers scored but they couldn't rebound. Their cardinal sin was allowing Utah 9 offensive rebounds in the period. Some bad transition defense made things worse. To their credit, though, the Blazers--led by Flynn--kept up their ball movement and worked for decent shots. They took the lead midway through the period then Utah took it back by virtue of the aforementioned rebounding. The Blazers drew within 2 on a Nolan Smith layup off of a steal with 1:16 remaining. Then the weirdness began."

    Ball Don't Lie: Ball Don’t Lie’s playoff predictions: San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz
    "A healthy helping of Utah's "big lineup," which has performed brilliantly on both ends of the floor this season and especially of late, could make the lane a tough place to live for interloping guards and look to take advantage of the Spurs' thin frontcourt rotation, as the Memphis Grizzlies did a year ago. But they don't look to have the wings to shut off San Antonio's penetration, and with Popovich's squadron of able passers and sharpshooters able to spread the floor once Parker's compromised the defense, this looks like a recipe for a lot of ball movement, late closeouts, open 3s and double-digit leads."

    Ball Don't Lie: Ball Don’t Lie’s playoff predictions: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks
    "Oklahoma City's vulnerable, but Dallas isn't good enough to take advantage often enough to win four games in seven tries. Even if the Thunder don't look like the world-beaters they were in the first half of the season, that last flap will carry them through to Round 2. They'd better get their wings moving if they want to go further than that, though."

    Ball Don't Lie: Spurs fan Theresa Sanchez takes in her first Spurs game in 40 years of fandom — at age 104
    "Put that in your pipe — nobody had the very, very veteran Spurs on the radar of top Western teams this year, and yet 13 years after winning their first title with Tim Duncan in a starring role the group still managed to take the top regular-season honor. And, 13 years after her 91st birthday, Theresa Sanchez was finally able to see her guys play live. Sporting a Manu Ginobili jersey, and a pair of signed Ginobili-endorsed sneakers that Manu gave her when she turned 100. And, during the blowout Spurs win, the team introduced her to the cheering crowd on the scoreboard above the court."

    Ball Don't Lie: Rick Adelman warns his Timberwolves that they ‘can’t wait’ to act on their improved fortunes
    "Yes, the team still has plenty to learn, and a ways to go before it can make a dent in the playoff bracket. But though Love won't turn 24 until a few weeks before training camp, he's a franchise stud that doesn't have much left to add to his game. What is he going to do — start putting together 40-point and 30-rebound games, instead of 30 and 20 games? Win the dunk contest after winning the 3-point contest? This isn't to say he's tapped-out at age 23, he can still keep improving defensively. But he's All-NBA First Team material right now, and the Wolves wouldn't be wrong to take advantage."

    The Basketball Jones: Check out some new Brooklyn Nets gear
    "As you can see, the Nets are definitely going with the oft-rumored black/white color scheme (with maybe a little gold thrown in here and there), which makes sense when you consider that Jay-Z was heavily involved in the branding and he’s Mr. All-Black Everything. The hat on the basketball kills me. It’s like, “Yeah, one of our owners is a rapper so we’re down with the streets.” The no vowels Brooklyn is also super trendy and super Brooklyn. It’s going to get so many reblogs."

    The Basketball Jones: Brian Scalabrine starts and ends the last Bulls game with a bang
    "I’m not sure how Brian Scalabrine was chosen as the guy to thank the Bulls fans for their regular season report while also getting them fired up for the playoffs — though when you think about it, choosing him makes a lot more sense than Derrick Rose since Scal is far more outspoken and is such a fan favorite that that’s what TV producers put in his chyron — but I’m really glad they did. I am legitimately fired up after hearing this. Go Bulls, for sure."

    DIME: Daily Fantasy Basketball Diagnosis: 4.27
    "Patty Mills finishes the wild 2011-12 NBA regular season with this honor, thanks to his 34 points, five boards, 12 dimes, one steal, one block and four three-pointers. He shot 56 percent (14-25) from the floor and 100 percent (2-2) from the free-throw line, and turned the ball over four times. It’d be a huge surprise to see him here ever again, but good for him and however many of his owners last night"

    SLAM: Post Up: The Grand Finale
    "Apparently, Utah and Portland didn’t get the memo that Thursday night was meaningless. With the Blazers down 2 with 3 seconds to play, Wesley Matthews got a look at a three but missed it, then crumpled to the ground but didn’t get the call, giving Utah a 5-game winning streak heading into the Playoffs (word to Enes Kanter). Rookie Alec Burks had 18 points and Slam Dunk champion Jeremy Evans took advantage of some rare playing time by racking up 13 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. Portland won’t be in the Playoffs for the first time since 2008—and we’re going to miss them."

    SLAM via Commercial Appeal: Zach Randolph Starting for Memphis Again, Ready for the Playoffs
    “Coach Lionel Hollins went into the Grizzlies’ 88-76 win over the Orlando Magic in the teams’ regular-season finale intending to judge Randolph’s effectiveness. Hollins reinserted Zach Randolph into the starting lineup, and the veteran power forward played as though he had something to prove. The verdict? Randolph looked inspired and lively offensively and on the boards, and a bit challenged defensively. But he expects to start when the Griz host the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday for the start of their first-round playoff series. If that happens — and Hollins remains noncommittal — then the expectation is for Randolph to be the consistent force he was against Orlando. ‘He was good. He was active and aggressive,’ Hollins said, joking that Randolph ‘probably leads the league in getting his shot blocked. But he was good. He has to be better in pick-and-roll defense. But it was a solid performance.’ Randolph finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes. He would have had a couple of more assists if teammates had finished easy layups after catching nifty passes from Randolph out of the post."


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