Nicolas Batum Doesn’t Have To Score To Spark Portland Trail Blazers

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Nicolas Batum didn’t have one of his better games for the Portland Trail Blazers Friday night against the San Antonio Spurs. He can save that for later, his best offense wasn’t needed that night.

With rookie-of-the year front runner Damian Lillard exploding for 35 points and nine turnovers, the Blazers ripped the Spurs in impressive fashion 136-106.

Batum quietly did his job by basically allowing the others to do their thing. LaMarcus Aldridge, J.J Hickson and Eric Maynor combined for 60 points so Batum was able to focus his nearly 38 minutes of court time with two blocked shots and eight rebounds. It was his night to play defense and he did a remarkable job. He also had five assists and no turnovers.

Batum was 1-of-5 from the floor. For the season, Batum continues to shine with 15.1 points and 5.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. He was more Batum-like earlier in the week against the Charlotte Bobcats when he shot 8-of-11 from the floor and 4-of-6 from the 3-point arc, dished out five assists and scored 20 points.

Perhaps Batum’s most impressive stat is his minutes per game. The fewest minutes he has put in since mid-December has been 31. He’s averaging 38.6 minutes a game this season compared to 28.6 minutes per game for his entire career. It’s Batum’s dependability to be there for the Trail Blazers that has especially helped his team this season.

It’s still questionable on if the team can make the NBA playoffs, but if Batum keeps producing, there’s still a chance of postseason action.

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