The only people who tried to make a big deal from Nicolas Batum hitting a half court shot that didn’t mean anything were the media, specifically ESPN. In professional sports, there’s nothing wrong or disrespectful about playing until the final second, even if the Portland Trail Blazers had the win all sewn up by that time.
In a 115-105 win over the San Antonio Spurs, marking the team’s third consecutive victory over the Spurs, Batum finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. With less then a second on the clock and a 7 point lead, Batum launched a half court shot and surprisingly hit it. Some tried to play an angle of disrespect, but Batum himself felt like he did the wrong thing by taking the shot while Gregg Popovich thought it doesn’t mean anything, and asked for reporters to move on to more serious things.
Getting Tim Duncan back from his injury didn’t help the Spurs against a team they usually struggle against. The Spurs did manage to pull within 4 (100-104) with 1:24 left on the clock, and got a bit closer after a Marco Belinelli 3, making it 105-108. However, Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum were sent to the line, and the Spurs couldn’t convert on the other end before Batum’s prayer of a shot.
All the talk about a deeper bench hasn’t materialized yet for the Blazers. Their starters combined for 92 points, as Damian Lillard had his best game this season, leading the way with 25 points, followed by LaMarcus Aldridge scoring 24 and Wesley Matthews with a second consecutive 20-point game, combining for six three-pointers along with Lillard, who also had 7 rebounds and 7 assists.
When their key players are that good, there’s really no need for anyone but Mo Williams, who is likely to get his points no matter what, to rise and have big games off the bench. The backup point guard scored 13 points in 23 minutes, while the Blazers are still waiting for C.J. McCollum to get healthy enough to start his NBA career.
For once, however, Robin Lopez had a strong game for the team, making it an entire starting five in double figures, adding 12 points. Aldridge is able to pull either Duncan or Splitter away from the basket, stretching the Spurs’ defense a bit too much for the finalist’s taste, resulting in too many holes around the perimeter.
Duncan looked quite lively after a short rest, scoring 24 points to lead the Spurs, who also got 19 points from Marco Belinelli and 17 from Tony Parker. However, Kawhi Leonard is too important of a piece to finish with only 9 points, not to mention Tiago Splitter not scoring a single point on 18 minutes.
I didn’t really think about it but I know it was a bad thing to do. I want to apologize to the Spurs organization. That didn’t show a good side of myself or the Blazers organization. I did not want to disrespect this team. I don’t mean to disrespect this team. I’ve got three triple-doubles in my career. This one didn’t count.