Trail Blazers vs Wizards Monday, 01/21/13 AT 07:00PM

Batum Triple-Double Not Enough To Beat Wizards

01/21/13
  1. Written by: erikgundersen  / avg. rating: 5.0

    BY ERIK GUNDERSEN

    Nicolas Batum had his first career triple-double (12 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds) against the Wizards (9-30) but it wasn't enough as the Trail Blazers lost 98-95. Jordan Crawford hit a buzzer-beating three to win the game. Batum's 11 assists were a new career high in the loss, Portland's sixth straight.

    Once again, the Trail Blazers faught down to the bitter end. However, the Wizards were able to shoot their threes well and and the Trail Blazers were not able to get a stop on the final possession when they needed it the most. The ball took another unfortunate bounce for the Trail Blazers in tonight's game.

    Batum, who didn't have a three-pointer in tonight's game, showed how effective he can be even when his best offensive weapon eludes him. He was effective in setting up other Trail Blazers players and started to get baskets later in the game, helping the Trail Blazers cut Washington's lead. However, in the loss, the fact Batum is the first Trail Blazer to get a triple-double in regulation since Damon Stoudemire in 2005 doesn't matter to him. Batum was more concerned with Portland's defense to begin the game.

    "They shoot 90 percent through six minutes, they missed one shot. We have got to play defense from the start. That's on us, that's the starters," he said.

    The Trail Blazers fought throughout despite allowing the Wizards to get into a rhythm offensively. Nene, who had 17 points in the first quarter and former Trail Blazer Martell Webster both had season highs of 24 points.

    Portland stormed back and their fourth quarter was marked with memorable plays including what may have been the dunk of the year by Damian Lillard, who scored 13 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, and another big three by Wesley Matthews (17 points)  to tie the game with 7.9 seconds left. Portland did the smart thing and used an extra foul giving the Wizards only 3.6 seconds to execute a play. LaMarcus Aldridge had another double-double (17 points, 12 rebounds) his ninth in the month of January.  

    Jordan Crawford got into a rhythm in the fourth quarter, scoring all 13 of his points in the final period. Crawford's three was as tough of a shot as they come as Matthews contested the shot well, the shot which was 31 feet away.

    "He came off a back screen on Ariza," explained Matthews about the final play," I had to bump that and chase him out to the top of the key. He caught it about 4, 5, 6 feet outside the three point line, dribbled it in to 2, 3, 4, feet behind the three point line, shot it, I contested the shot and he made it."

    It seems like deja vu for the Trail Blazers and Terry Stotts hasn't seen this type of similar pattern before in a team.

    "So, this has been remarkable to have this many games come down to the last 30 seconds in a row. You don't see stretches like this. The one thing that hasn't wavered is that I like the way our team competes. You can't take anything away from them on that," Stotts said.

    Will Barton said he remembers a similar pattern happening to him his freshman year of college at Memphis, of getting off to slow starts and fighting back to have a chance in the final minutes. The Trail Blazers sense the urgency, knowing that a losing streak can have a "snowball effect."

    "You've got to stay with it, man, especially now that it's your job," said Barton. "You got to stick together and fight through it. It's only going to get worse, it becomes a snowball effect. That's not good for nobody."

    One bright spot, along with the Batum triple-double was Meyers Leonard's return to the court. He scored six points and grabbed four rebounds, hitting all three of his shots from the field.

    Portland's next game is Wednesday at 7PM against the Indiana Pacers. That game will tip off at 7PM and will be shown on CSNNW and can be heard on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.

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