mikebarrett

Jan 26

Batum Pulls Blazers to Victory

By mikebarrett Posted in: Clippers
The first triple-double didn't count, according to Nic Batum.  So, his second one, coming less than a week after his first, was worthy of a souvenir.  So, after Jamal Crawford missed a potential game-winning shot, and Batum secured the rebound which secured the triple-double, he clutched the ball and didn't let it go.

Batum's line- 20 points, 10 rebounds, and a career-high 12 assists.  Most importantly, it was the Trail Blazers 101, and the Clippers 100.

It was a game the Trail Blazers led just about throughout, and by 14 at one point.  But, the Clippers, desperately trying to avoid a fourth-straight loss, charged back in the fourth quarter.  Not only did they get the offense going, the locked the Blazers down defensively.  Portland ended up shooting just 5 for 14 in the final quarter, and won.  

With 2:38 left in the game, if your faith was starting to fade, you surely weren't alone.  The Clippers had the momentum, control, and seemingly had all the answers.  But, as we've seen in the past, the Trail Blazers never give up.  They ended the game on a 10-0 run, punctuated by two free throws by JJ Hickson.  Of the starters, JJ has the worst free-throw percentage.  But, he was clutch on this night.

Damian Lillard was also clutch, for the third-straight game, in the second half.  Lillard had a huge three during Portland's rally, and ended with 20 points.  Wesley Matthews also had some big-time moments in this one, and finished with 18.  

The Clippers played a very solid game, and they don't often lose when they shoot as well as they shot on Saturday night.  In fact, they had been 28-5 when shooting just 45 percent or better. They shot 49 percent in this one.  

So, this is how this season has been going.  The long home winning streak, followed by Portland's skid, followed by two big wins over two of the elite teams in the NBA.  And, with this win, the Blazers move back over the .500 mark at 22-21.  

Same two teams on Sunday night.  Most likely, the same game plan for both sides.  It doesn't appear likely that Chris Paul will play for the Clippers, but since they lost, it's possible.  But, we're hearing it's probably not going to happen.  

This much is certain, the Clippers are going to be upset.  But, the Blazers, by getting this win, will probably feel like they're playing with house money, and maybe be relaxed.  

So, we called Wednesday's win one of the biggest of the season, all things considered.  Where does this one rank?


24 Comments

  1. Thank you Blazers for this early birthday present! Now get another winn tomorrow and you will have made my birthday very special!
    Thanks, Mike, for the quick recap. Batum makes it look easy to get a triple double. I'm glad he got that final rebound, both to assure the win and to get his triple double. He's proving he's worth his contract. How fortunate we are to have drafted Lillard, someone ready to take the helm from day one! The last 45 seconds were nail biting time after we got the lead on JJ's free throws, but again the defensive effort was tremendous.

    by dockaren on 1/26/2013 11:11 PM
  2. Congratulations Nic. It meant a lot to him. Without Batum, we lose that game.
    A quiet 20 from DLill. LaMarcus also not dialed in.
    Grit. Never say die. The Blazers identity.
    I like our chances tomorrow. Like you said Mike, playing with house money.

    by Divotking on 1/26/2013 11:55 PM
  3. MB, there's one word for this win: freakish! when we went down by nine with a couple minutes to go, i knew anything was possible, but didn't think we could respond to the defense the Clippers were throwing at us. it didn't help that they seemed to be getting their ball to Crawford on every possession at least once, and he seemed to be responding. then, we locked them down.

    it's funny to talk about the game itself when all i really want to talk about is how incredible Nicolas is playing right now. i was able to watch the game and chat, but i really wasn't paying much attention to the boxscore until early in the 3rd quarter. i realized Nicolas had 7 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds. the prospect of a triple double was possible. of course, it was too early to talk about that kind of thing. as his numbers grew and as he kept making a difference in the game for us, i wondered if we might see the triple-double. i went as far as to think how great it would be if the Clippers missed on their last attempt and Nicolas got the rebound. i know it was impossible, but he got that last rebound.

    sure, the triple-double is only a stat, but it tells you how much of an all-around player he is and what he's doing for us this season. it was amazing during the in-game chat over the past three games. there were several trolls who were claiming we should not have signed Nicolas, and that we should trade him. believe me, the trolls are put in their place. to move forward, we NEED Nicolas. he's been much more consistent than he was before, and he always brings it.

    we almost let this one get away but, in the end, i'm glad we pulled it out. given how well the Clippers are playing this season, coming away with a win on either floor is an accomplishment. we're back above .500 and get to play these guys again. we can win the second game too. that would be amazing.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 1/27/2013 12:44 AM
  4. Hey Mike: I posted once but must have forgot to post after my spell check.
    I was hoping for a split, but now I am greedy and want both.

    Nic gives credit to Stotts for his new game,but for whatever the reason, Like Kassandra I am all a buzz on Nic, not so much for the triple double , but for putting the team on his back and not giving up. I could see some despair and hung heads by some of the bench, but the team that was on the floor, although being a little intimidated at times, never gave up. I LIKE THAT. For the win, I AM LOVING IT.

    by Hg on 1/27/2013 5:47 AM
  5. two words.

    TERRY STOTTS

    go blazers!!!!!!

    by thedanman on 1/27/2013 7:01 AM
  6. Nice win Blazers !!
    Great game from Nico at both side of the floor .I'm happy it finish with a win
    because it could have been the 2nd triple double with a loss .He has a couple of turnover in the last minutes that could cost the game but still one of the best game he played this season.

    by NicoBatata on 1/27/2013 7:09 AM
  7. Stotts gave Nico the green light and i won't deny that's a good thing. i just wrote a blog about Nico's night. he's become more of a complete player. honestly, i'm really excited about what Nicolas is doing. he hasn't taken one step ... he's taken two or three. i am so glad we made him a Blazer during the off-season. pretty soon, Nicolas will have those in france saying Tony Parker Who?

    by Kassandra on 1/28/2013 7:09 AM
  8. 21 trips to the line- making 20.
    I was impressed with the Clips defense. They made everything a struggle. LaMarcus couldn't get any separation.
    Tonight I suspect Stotts will throw a little wrinkle at them. He may bring in our long range knock down gun slinger. Luke. Try to give LaMarcus a little room to operate.

    by Divotking on 1/27/2013 8:46 AM
  9. Scotty who?

    Again we showed up at the beginning of the game, and played lockdown defense at the end.

    by Ancientone on 1/27/2013 10:10 AM
  10. Ancientone;
    Pippen ? Nic may be a little better at long range shooting.

    by Divotking on 1/27/2013 11:24 AM
  11. Also Pippen like Batum wasn't always a offensive juggernaut. I think Batum will surpass him in time for sure.

    by Hg on 1/27/2013 12:10 PM
  12. Like I said guys: Scotty who?

    by Ancientone on 1/27/2013 12:28 PM
  13. Glad Nic could provide both the defense and the rebound for the last play.
    helped him recover for the turnover he created with about 25 seconds to go.
    Love when they look forward and not back.
    Another nail biter but I never doubted. I knew Jamal would have to miss sooner or later. he did when he played for us.
    Great game, Blazers.

    by allie-oop on 1/27/2013 1:09 PM
  14. I'm with allie-oop. This is part of why I'm not impressed by the Clippers: you've got what's supposed to be a top-flight team that in the make-or-break moments of a close game puts the ball in the hands of a career 40% shooter. And as a long-time Batum fan I'm at least as thrilled as everyone else about his new confidence and performance. I still cringe at some of the turnovers, but on the whole he's handling the job of being point forward whenever Terry needs him to do it.
    I've also got to agree with Kassandra's "freakish" rating. MB pointed out during the game how many last-second-on-the-clock, must-throw-it-up threes we made during the stage when we were holding our lead, so it wasn't exactly a shock that we went dry on offense and gave it all up. I confess that I said "and that's the game" when we gave up that dunk to Odom. But even after we had gotten the lead down to where our hopes were plausible, we suffered both the Odom flop call and Nic's brilliant penetrating drive that he capped by throwing the ball away, and you don't often complete a comeback when you hit potholes like that down the stretch. But this team really does keep fighting, and this time they got the luck they needed at the end.

    by David Maclaine on 1/27/2013 2:18 PM
  15. I too love Nic Batum's game now that he's freed from Nate McMillan's straight jacket. But there another guy who needs to be the team's focus right now: JJ Hickson. At least one other team is going to offer JJ a lot of money this coming off-season. He's a hot commodity right now and what team doesn't want a high-energy guy like JJ?

    So, are we going to match any offer to resign him, like we did with Nic? If we are, then there's nothing to think about. But, if not, then we need to consider trading him before the Feb. 21st trade deadline. That's less than four weeks away. Far better to get something for him now than to let him walk next summer. We know JJ's heart is in Portland, Paul Allen and company must decide if they're going to keep his body here as well.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 1/27/2013 4:16 PM
  16. dgpdx, I couldn't have said it any better than that. That's still a concern with me as well.

    But about last night, MB...WHAT A WIN!!! Definitely #1 on my list. I watched until the bitter end and NEVER expected that late run. 100-91 Clips with 2:30 left approx., are you kidding me??? I thought it was over then! But Batum came through and got it done almost single handedly. So happy for him.

    The best part is that we are in exactly the right position to possibly sweep this "baseball-ish" series! Hopefully I can listen to Part 2 tonight and hear Wheelz create more magic.

    This team COMPETES every night. We haven't been able to say that about a lot of Blazer teams over the years, and I'm so proud of these guys for getting past that losing streak and continuing to have the same mentality. Should be interesting to see what Olshey does come trade deadline. No matter what, I hope we come out on the winning side.

    -Max Milander '14

    by linfieldrunner on 1/27/2013 5:31 PM
  17. Don;
    JJ is a problem for management. The kind of problem you would like to have. Hard decisions will have to be made. That's why they make those big dollars.
    My vote is pay the man. If we were shopping for a player, we would be looking for a high energy guy like him. Trading for a draft pick is always a crap shoot.
    Only problem is, Olshey never listens to me.

    by Divotking on 1/27/2013 5:49 PM
  18. @Divotking: I agree, pay the man. He's small for his position but, hopefully, that's only temporary. When we do get a true center, JJ would be a terrific backup at both the 4 and 5, and play almost starter minutes anyway.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 1/28/2013 12:30 PM
  19. @Don; IMO, we have a true center, in Leonard, but since he is a project, JJ would be a perfect fit for what he brings until Leonard grows up in BB terms. I think LMA passing skills is getting better, then the high low post would work great.

    by Hg on 1/28/2013 12:47 PM
  20. Don - Hg;
    What Olshey decides to do may provide us a picture of how he feels about Meyers progression and or future. If he feels Meyers is going to be a force at center he may spread the money around and fill the bench with solid players. That would include JJ. If he feels Meyers progression is years away he may try to go big like he did last summer.

    by Divotking on 1/28/2013 1:53 PM
  21. Hg: That's what I meant by getting a true center, either Leonard or via trade or draft. I hope it's gonna be Leonard, he's a perfect fit in PDX. That and filling the bench with solid players, as Divotking said, would insure Portland a bright NBA future indeed!

    by dgpdx on 1/28/2013 8:57 PM
  22. A few stats from Sunday's Clipper game --

    Blazer starters average playing time: 35:36 and they scored 67 points.
    Blazer bench: 8:49 and 16 points.
    Clipper starters average playing time: 25:12 and they scored 60 points.
    Clipper bench: 19:00 and 36 points.

    In addition, we only got 66 shots, way below our per game average. 19 turnovers accounted for much of that, but the Clipper defense clearly kept us out of early offense on many possessions.

    Shows where we need to be in the next couple of years to realistically challenge for a home playoff series.
    --
    dg

    by dgpdx on 1/28/2013 9:13 PM
  23. @dg, we are on the same page, but we do need time to let Leonard grow, and I am liking what I see.

    And we need to valuate our bench and decide who stays and who goes.

    by Hg on 1/29/2013 12:09 AM
  24. Large game tonight. Dallas is right on our heels in the standings. Stotts would love to beat his old boss.
    Win it for coach boys.

    by the golden ladder on 1/29/2013 10:21 AM
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