Nicolas Batum: ‘I gotta step up, I’m number two option right now’
By sarahhecht Posted in: NicolasBatum
It seems like the Trail Blazers have been searching for a second go-to option on offense all season. A consisted player who will be aggressive and half carry the load borne so heavily by LaMarcus Aldridge. If tonight was any demonstration, they’ve found it.
In the 97-93 defeat of the Memphis Grizzlies tonight in the Rose Garden Nicolas Batum started the game red-hot. He scored nine of Portland’s first 15 points, had 24 total and added two rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot to the mix. He was everywhere. Not only was his line impressive—he was the high-scorer of the game—his attitude was as well. He played with unwavering confidence.
Batum is always cool and collected post-game. Always honest. But tonight there was something more. Tonight he radiated the absolute confidence of a true go-to guy. He’s ready to be a main option on this team, just ask him.
Here’s what he had to say:
Was it more offense or defense tonight?
“Defense. Defense was the biggest part tonight. They scored 90 points – after the 116 we gave two days ago, we did a better job than that. They scored 46 points I think in the first half, so our goal was to allow no more than 25 points each quarter. We did a pretty good job in the first half. Then we kept rebounding – this is a big team. They’ve got Z-Bo and Marc inside and we tried to control the rebounds, did a pretty good job. Sometimes we gave up too many offensive rebounds, but the whole game was pretty good. Everybody was involved – everybody who came on the court was ready to go so that was a good team win tonight.”
Did you make it a point to come out aggressive tonight?
Yeah, yeah. After the last two games, OKC and the last one against Milwaukee, I wasn’t very aggressive. And now I gotta step up. The last move we made I talk with the guys, with the coach and said ‘Now I gotta step up. I’m number two option right now so I gotta do a better job.’ I missed that the last two games so today I was like ‘okay, you gotta come in, you gotta play. You gotta play like a go-to guy almost. So I did a pretty good job on that. Start to play aggressive and I’m gonna make some mistake but I don’t worry about it. I’m gonna make some mistake now, so I gotta do something. Just try to be aggressive all night.
Are you comfortable in that role? (As a number two option)
“Yeah! I love it.”
What give you reason to believe this team can still make the playoffs?
“Cause we have 19 more games. And when I watch the standings on nba.com there’s a little cross that means you don’t going to the playoff. We don’t have this cross right now so that mean we can be in the playoff right now if we win, we believe in it.”
It’s been a while since this crowd has been rocking...
“Oh, it was nice tonight. We play so bad the last 20, 25 game and they still here. The Rose Garden is all out every time and they still make a lot of noise. We have the best fans in the world. In the good times and the bad times. Our respect for them, we gotta compete and play games.”
Did you hear the boos on Tuesday night?
“Of course. I understand that. We play very bad. We play like we almost give up on them sometimes. We gotta show them respect because they respect us and they here every night and they cheer for us every night. So we gotta do that for them.”