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Around The World: April 16

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

    April 16 Video: Trail Blazers 103, Kings 104 Video: Kaleb Canales Post-Game Interview Video: Wesley Matthews Connects On 8 3's

    SLAM: Q+A: JJ Hickson
    "Of course, I would love it. I’ve been getting some positive feedback from Coach, and from the organization as a whole, and I would love to re-sign here. As far as the guys on the court, as far as my teammates go, we all like each other off the court and we all get along too. Guys hang out off the court, and I think that builds a chemistry that leads to winning basketball. So I would love to come back here, continue to be a Portland Trailblazer, and help be part of something special that we’re building here."

    Trail Blazers: Preview: Trail Blazers vs Suns
    "Phoenix (31-29) is ninth in the Western Conference and trails Houston by one game for the eighth and final playoff spot. To even be in the postseason chase at this point might not have been expected of a team which had the West's third-worst record two months ago at 12-19."

    Trail Blazers: Portland loses amid late dramatics at Sacramento
    "With us, we started off with a clean slate. We were excited to get him and he is playing well for us," Canales said of Hickson. "He ended up with another double-double and his activity at both ends of the floor has been good for us."

    Oregon Live: Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns game preview
    "Phoenix lost 105-91 to the San Antonio Spurs Saturday night, decreasing its playoff hopes. ... The Spurs built and early 21-4 lead that proved to be insurmountable and Nash played just six minutes in the loss because of a right hip strain. His status for tonight is questionable. ... The Suns are 6-3 in April, winning games at Houston and Utah and defeating the Los Angeles Lakers. ... Five of the Suns' final six games are at home, where the team is 10-2 since the All-Star break and 17-11 this season ... The Suns are 17-9 since the All-Star break, which is the second-best record in the Western Conference during that span. "

    Oregon Live: Sacramento 104, Portland 103: Bedtime for Blazers as Portland plays out the string of a lost season
    "Both of those guys would like to play," Buchanan said. "But we approached them about it and they were very understanding. They understand we want to look at Nolan and Jonny. Once we get through (Monday), we'll look at the last five games and decide how we will handle things."

    Oregon Live: Joe Cronin, self-made NBA 'capologist,' helps put Blazers in position for fruitful offseason
    "There have been many times where I have thought, "Where would we be without him,'" Buchanan said of Cronin. "Because he just has such a strong grasp of the salary cap and the rules involving payroll. Any question involving the CBA, a trade or roster move or a particular salary, he knows it off the top of his head. He understands, basically, every single contract in the league, from the value of it to how it's structured."

    Columbian: Luke Babbitt not giving up faith
    “There are guys like that on every team, where it becomes a joke. That’s what I was, and to some people, I still am. I’m trying to bust out of that,” said Babbitt, 22. “I play to be a winner, to be a contributor, not a guy who comes in and makes Chalupa shots. ... Still, we’ve got the best fans, and I can’t really blame them because for a year and a half, I hadn’t really done anything else.”

    Rip City Project: Game 61 Recap: Blazers 103, Kings 104
    "It’s not my personal belief that they gave up on Sunday’s game. On the contrary. I think Portland lost Sunday because they got out played on the plays that mattered. Two plays stand out, and they both happened at the very end. The first was yet another late turnover by Raymond Felton, and the second was the failure to adequately defend Marcus Thornton on Sacramento’s final possession."

    Blazersedge: Portland Trail Blazers 103, Sacramento Kings 104: Blazers Stumble, Fumble Away Victory
    "Raymond Felton committed yet another late-game turnover and missed 3 of Portland's final 5 shots in a tight game, making a 4th...all long jumpers. He couldn't get his team into any coherent offense. Has he been putting up nice numbers? Yeah. Is he playing better, quicker, and more consistently than he did earlier this year? Yup. Is he still the best point guard the Blazers have right now? By far. But one question keeps reverberating in my head, a question that's critical when evaluating your floor general: Do you trust him? Set aside the numbers now and lack thereof earlier. Set aside the vitriol against him and the praise as well. Set aside emotion and expectations, skills and reputation, salary and free agency possibilities. Just answer that one question. Do you trust him with the ball for your team? If the answer is no--and I don't see how it could be different at this point--then you need to let him go no matter what the boxscores and momentum bring."

    Blazersedge: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Phoenix Suns Preview
    "This game is in Phoenix. The Suns are still in the thick of the battle for post-season seeding, currently the #9 seed but only one game behind the #8 Houston Rockets, so they have everything to play for. They're 6-3 this month. This is their first game back from a long and mostly-successful run of games on the road. Plus they have point guard Steve Nash, a Hall-of-Famer and former MVP-level player. He's had some hip problems but he rested for most of Phoenix's last game...presumably so he could come home and whip the tar out of the Blazers. Tonight he'll be facing the likes of Jonny Flynn and Nolan Smith. You know how bad that is? Portland would kill for Suns reserve Sebastian Telfair right now, particularly since Bassy scored 21 against the Spurs in Nash's absence. Naturally the Blazers will shift Wesley Matthews or Nicolas Batum onto Nash but that'll leave Shannon Brown free for dunks, Michael Redd open for jumpers, and/or Grant Hill loose to score in a thousand ways. We're not even counting Marcin Gortat, for whom the Blazers have no answer, or Channing Frye pulling one of Portland's two big men (and only rebounders) outside with his shot. I'm not sure the Blazers have kept an opponent under 47% shooting for weeks, and this was against teams that weren't primed to expose Portland's weaknesses. The Suns already shoot well without the Blazers' help."

    Star Tribune: Randy Foye: Brandon Roy's Retirement "Hurt Me To My Heart"
    "That hurt me to my heart, you know," he said about the day Roy retired. "The Foye-Roy stuff, that was probably one of my saddest days in basketball, for him and because I wanted to compete against him, play against him. Let this go down in history so we could look back on our careers and see. I don't know what my destiny is yet, but I wanted there to be something great between us, where we were battling in the playoffs every year, me and him. It's just sad it didn't end up like that."

    Ball Don't Lie via NOLA: Tom Benson, new New Orleans Hornets owner, would like to change the team’s name ‘tomorrow’
    "Benson said he is also trying to change the name of the NBA team to better fit the ambiance, culture and charm of New Orleans. "We need to find a name like (Jazz)," Benson said, referring to New Orleans first NBA team that relocated to Salt Lake City in 1979. "Whether we can get that or let us use that, you've got to know we're working on it. We'd like to change it tomorrow. We have not gotten that approved, but we're not letting up on it, either. Because we've got a good relationship with the commissioner and his people and we're going to be on them daily to do something."

    Ball Don't Lie: Did Nets announcer Ian Eagle snap on Mike Fratello during a live broadcast? (VIDEO)
    "Ian Eagle and Mike Fratello have worked New Jersey Nets broadcasts together on the YES Network since 2008. They've established a dry comic rhythm over time, taking deadpan shots at one another and any number of other things during the million mind-numbing Nets games they've witnessed over the past five years. So when the two appear to have a tiff on the air, it's understandable that our immediate inclination would be to chalk it up to a wry, clever gag between colleagues who enjoy a laugh."

    The Basketball Jones: Andre Miller’s lobs make him a ‘pretty amazing dude’
    "I don’t know when it happened, but sometime in the past few years, Andre Miller surpassed Jason Kidd as the NBA’s premier lob thrower. It probably had something to do with Kidd moving to a team that features more 12-footers than dunks, but we’re now living in an Alley-Andre kind of world and it’s spectacular. Even if he’s unhappy that he’s not the Nuggets’ starter, I think we can all agree that having him on a team with so many leapers is good the rest of us."

    DIME: Daily Fantasy Basketball Diagnosis: 4.16 (Weekend Recap)
    "Wesley Matthews averaged 23.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.5 blocks and 4.5 three-pointers in two games over the weekend. He hit 50 percent of his shots from the field and 100 percent of his shots from the charity stripe, and averaged 2.5 turnovers in each of those games. Matthews has struggled with major bouts of inconsistency this season, but he’s still maintained top 60 value, mostly thanks to his strong three-point making (1.9 per game) and thieving (1.4 per game)."

    DIME: Derrick Rose Says He’s Tired Of The Cheap Shots
    "In Chicago’s overtime win against Detroit yesterday, Derrick Rose dropped 24 and hit a dagger triple at the end of regulation to save the Bulls. But that wasn’t all he talked about afterwards. According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune‘s Twitter, Rose said “I was mad, man. I’m sick and tired of people trying to take cheap shots at me. I gotta say something.” Who brought this out from the reigning MVP? Charlie Villanueva. "

    SLAM: Post Up: All Of The Lights
    "First things first, guys—Hasheem Thabeet sighting! The former No. 2 overall pick turned trade throw-in played 13 minutes, grabbed 3 rebounds, blocked a shot and scored 2 points on a surprisingly nice oop jam. Despite the matchup of a pair of Lottery teams, this was a low-key super entertaining game. After utterly dominating for most of the night, DeMarcus Cousins (23 points, 7 rebounds) put the Kings up by 2 on a driving bucket with under a minute to play. Portland’s Wesley Matthews answered back with a corner three with under 10 seconds left to put the Blazers back in front. Then, with the game hanging in the balance, Marcus Thornton caught an inbounds pass, took one dribble and pulled up at the elbow for a game-winning jumpshot, part of his 20-point performance. If not for Thornton’s clutch bucket, we’d be talking about Matthews’ huge game (and what was almost a game-winner)—he had 19 of his 31 points in the third quarter, including 5 threes."


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