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?