Trail Blazers vs Spurs Thursday, 12/13/12 AT 07:30PM

News From Around The World: December 12

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

    December 12

    Trail Blazers TV: Trail Blazers Courtside

    Trail Blazers TV: Victor Claver And Meyers Leonard Visit Albina Head Start

    Trail Blazers TV: Sportlandia

    Trail Blazers TV: Just Casey

    Trail Blazers: Nolan Smith Capitalizes On Opportunity In Backup Point Guard Role
    “I think it comes with time and more games,” Smith said of the change in his nervousness. “Being in this league, I think the longer you’re in here, you know the speed of the game and the anxiety of getting on the NBA court is gone. Obviously when everybody steps out here you’re excited to play, but as a rookie if you’re not getting 20-25 minutes it’s different when you get out there, you’re just so excited, but now it’s becoming normal. It’s becoming normal now so when I get out there in my head I’m just playing basketball, I’ve been doing this my whole life.”

    Trail Blazers: Transcript: Neil Olshey On What Lillard Needs To Improve And Why Aldridge Isn't Soft
    "Look, every team in this league is trying to make the playoffs. What you don't want to do is sacrifice long term sustainability for a one year entree into the playoffs. There's plenty of examples around the league of teams that kind of threw the baby out with the bathwater, got into the playoffs, got their butts kicked in the first round and then turned around, they had no cap flexibility, no draft picks, they had a bunch of contracts weighing them down they couldn't get rid of and the run was over. I think the goal here is to build something where we can go on a five to seven year run and build it the right way. So any piece, any deal that I can generate or will be brought to me that will accelerate things and move the needle forward faster, we're going to do. But at the end of the day, look, the organization invested five first round picks before I even got here in guys that have not really gotten an opportunity to play yet and we need to see what they have. You use two first rounder and a second rounder in Will Barton this year, so we've got a lot of, either five rookies and then three guys who never got an opportunity to play before Terry got here and we have to see what we have. The last thing you want to do is go spend seven or eight million dollars on a player and find out you have a rookie whose better. So like I said, I think there's a learning curve this year. We need to see what we have, we need to develop our assets, we need to continue to groom Wes Matthews and Nic Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge and get them to get to the next level, but look, next summer we're going to have $13 million in cap room, we're going to have a first (round pick), three seconds, we have an aggressive owner who's willing to spend whatever it takes to win. So the only thing we want to do is we don't want to race to the middle. We want to make moves that put us up at the upper echelon of the Western Conference when this thing comes together for a sustainable period of time, not make a bunch of incremental moves that maybe let us slide into eighth to go get swept in the first round and then be back to the drawing board again."

    Oregon Live: Portland Trail Blazers rookie Will Barton 'just taking it all in'
    "Oh yeah, all the guys on this team are great guys. No crybabies, no prima donnas; everybody is just happy-go-lucky. We joke and we laugh with each other. We all get along and we communicate. That's made my transition easier."

    NBA: Race For Rookie Of The Year Gets Interesting Again
    "He is back tonight and so is the race for Rookie of the Year, no matter how much it seems like Portland’s Damian Lillard has started to lap the field. He does have a lead, probably even a commanding lead, none of which is a surprise considering he began the season as the No. 2 contender behind Davis. But that’s different from insurmountable."

    Oregon Live: NBA High-5: Kevin Love airs grievances about lack of respect from Timberwolves management
    "You walk into the locker room every year, and it's completely turned over," Love said. "There's new guys everywhere. And then it happens again and again. You start to wonder: Is there really a plan here? Is there really any kind of a … plan?"

    Columbian: Blazers' Leonard goes to work on the boards
    "I think he needs to rebound better on both ends of the floor," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said of Leonard. "I think rebounding is difficult to coach because it's very instinctive, especially offensive rebounding. But defensive rebounding is reacting to the ball, knowing where your man is and where the ball is and reading the ball off the rim."

    CSNNW: Damian Lillard's Mom Was at Clackamas Town Center When Shooting Erupted
    “I was here and my mom was actually in the parking lot, she was going to the mall,” Lillard explained to “I needed a ride from here (practice facility) because I didn't drive yesterday. She saw all the people running and all the stuff like that and then she came and picked me up. It was crazy for somebody to go to the mall around Christmas time and do something like that.”

    Blazersedge via Basketball Prospectus: Pelton: Blazers C Meyers Leonard Lacks Strength And Toughness
    "What makes Leonard such an interesting rookie is that he's got the size and he's got the skill (53.5 percent on twos and a sparkling 85.2 percent from the line so far). What's holding him back is lack of strength and, frankly, toughness. Leonard has gotten pushed around on the glass--the Blazers have been abysmal on the glass when they pair Leonard with LaMarcus Aldridge--and has only been average as a shot blocker. Those tend to be young-player skills, not ones that are developed in the NBA. Portland has to hope that, as was the case at Illinois, Leonard is a late bloomer."

    Ball Don't Lie: Tim Duncan would be totally fine with not being an All-Star, thanks
    "On the other, this is pretty obviously Duncan saying he'd rather relax than go through the rigamarole of, as he told Monroe back in February, having "to do media six times before playing in the game for five minutes." While some players might view the end of an 11-year streak of All-Star appearances as an upsetting indication that they'd lost a step or that their performance wasn't up to par, Duncan "discovered the joy of a long midseason weekend with his family."

    Ball Don't Lie: Mark Cuban contends that Don Nelson once wanted to trade Jason Terry for … Raul Lopez?
    "Years later, this is still what people don't get. Despite his love and admiration for Steve Nash, Don Nelson held Nash back by not letting him dominate the ball once Steve got healthy in time for the 2000-01 season. A season that, it should be noted, Mark Cuban signed Howard Eisley prior to and talked up a training camp battle for the starting point guard slot. There's a reason that Nash's play and statistics shot up when he returned to Phoenix, despite his entrance into his early and mid-30s."

    Ball Don't Lie: Why the Washington Wizards reportedly turning down a chance at James Harden made sense for their mess
    "Somehow, though, you can understand the reasons behind Washington saying "no." In the same way you can understand spending ungodly millions back in 2008 to keep Arenas and Jamison around, or the Jan Vesely pick, or stepping to the plate to pick up sometimes-solid players in Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza (qualifier: I wrote "sometimes"). All those moves had their "yeah, I kind of get it"-moments."

    The Basketball Jones: Did Raymond Felton have the worst miss of the season last night?
    "Oh man, you guys. I’m not sure anyone is going to miss a shot worse than this for the rest of the season. And even though play-by-play data technically counts this as a turnover, I think we can all agree it’s really a pullup jumper that he lost on the way up."

    SLAM: Post Up: Manhattan Keep On Making It
    "In Round Two of the ‘Battle for New York’, Brooklyn took advantage of the Knicks came flat start held a 17-point lead after one. But the wheels quickly came off the for the Nets and Carmelo Anthony went into superhuman mode with no Brooklyn player acting as his kryptonite. Anthony was unconscious, shooting 15-24 from the field to finish with 45 points. As he has done so many times this season already, Melo showed off his offensive prowess by hitting threes, posting defenders up, getting to the rack off the dribble and flashing his mid-range game. The many Knicks fans in attendance chanted “MVP!” “MVP!” and Melo looked every bit the part. Melo was unstoppable but it was the Knicks elder statesman who made all the key plays and hit the game-winning shot. J-Kidd finished with 18 points (6-9 shooting), 6 boards and 6 assists over 37 minutes. On a night when Ray Felton struggled, New York needed every bit of that effort out of Kidd’s 39 year-old legs."

    DIME: Fast 5: Tracking This Year’s NBA Draft Class, Vol. 2
    "With all of that we still don’t know how good the fluidity is just yet. Does it go 14 deep or three deep? Looking across the landscape, this class seems to be deep at every position outside of the four and maybe the one. There are a lot of quality centers in this class, but they are all raw outside of Cody Zeller with a lot to prove still in terms of what they can do on the court. The athletes on the wing are as good as any year since 2003 with a lot of potential stars led by Shabazz Muhammad, Alex Poythress and Otto Porter. "

    CSNNW: A depleted Blazers team rout Raptors
    “I just have to be aggressive,” Smith said. “I have to remind myself that. When I'm in attack mode, I'm at my best.”

    ESPN: Daily Dime
    "Anthony poured in a season-high 45 points on 15-of-24 from the floor in New York's comeback win in Brooklyn. In two games against the Nets this season, Anthony has combined for 80 points and 18 rebounds. "

    ESPN: Magic: Pau Gasol being used wrong
    "His game is to catch it on the low block, face his man, one dribble left or right. He's got great moves. But now all the blame is on his shoulders, like he's not performing well? He can't take that. That's not who he is. They've got to put him in a winning situation, because once Gasol starts to play well, I think the team will start to play well. Then you come in with Steve Nash. But you've got to get Gasol going. Gasol, to me, is the key to this whole thing. If you continue to have him at the 3-point line, he's not going to perform well."

    ESPN: Fact or Fiction: The Spurs are the favorites to win the West.
    "Fact. With the Spurs, there's no need to provide the caveat "if healthy" when making predictions. Gregg Popovich has been able to get meaningful contributions from everyone on his roster this season, regardless of whether or not the marquee players are injured or resting. The Spurs have been playing so well, it's as if they just need to make it to the arena on time to stay on pace for first place."

    Sports Illustrated: Give And Go: Revisiting the four-team megatrade that sent Howard to Lakers
    "Yes. Bynum will inevitably miss further time because of complications with his right knee, but he’s still a potential superstar who could anchor the Sixers in a way that few other players could. There’s risk involved, but it was worth it. As good as Iguodala is, Bynum — supposing that Philadelphia is able to re-sign him — is a massive trade return for a player who couldn’t give the Sixers what they so badly needed (shot creation). Bynum will have his work cut out for him and is sure to see plenty of double- and triple-teams once he does finally make his Sixers debut. But those growing pains are perfectly manageable when viewed within the scope of all that Philadelphia has to gain here, and how well Bynum fits — in terms of age and talent, if not specific skills — into the Sixers’ new plans."

    Trail Blazers: Weekend Plan: Specially Designed For Families And The Busy Nine-To-Fiver
    "Built for the family-oriented fan with a busy work-week, the 12-game Weekend Pack maximizes the thrill-factor while keeping the competitions to Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A smattering of Western Conference rivals and Eastern Conference visitors during one-offs and key home stands, you can get your hands on this schedule-friendly pack for as low as $11/game and $52/game in the lower bowl."

    Trail Blazers: The Rivals Plan: Two LAs, Oklahoma City And The Return Of Roy
    "The smallest of the four big ticket plans, the eight game Rivals Pack packs a big punch. You’ll be in the building and eating a corndog while others are wondering how to get their hands on a way to see the return of Brandon Roy and the sure to sell out L.A. Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder."

    Trail Blazers: Why The Value Plan Makes 'Cents' For You
    "The Value Pack starts at just $5 a game. That’s 12 games for as low as $60! Talk about some serious bang for your buck. But that’s not even the best part about this ticket plan. Four of the 12 games take place in the month of January. And there is absolutely no better place to be during an Oregon winter’s night than inside the raucous Rose Garden. Not to mention this pack gets you into the arena to see some of the league’s biggest names and brightest young stars such as Dwight Howard, Dirk Nowitzki, Kyrie Irving, John Wall, and Rudy Gay."

    Trail Blazers: Big Games Plan: 12 Of The Biggest Games
    "This game has it all. Season opener, at home, against the loathe-inducing Lakers, in Steve Nash's first game in purple and gold and it's on Halloween night! Any game against the Lakers at the Rose Garden is going to be a lively one, but the confluence of circumstances in this particular game sets the stage for one of the all-time season openers in Trail Blazers history."


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