Nicolas Batum

Celtics snare a win from Portland

Boston wins with a last-second shot, 90-89, as Batum exits with injury
Jan. 22, 2015

PORTLAND - Having learned All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge would be out for six to eight weeks earlier in the day, the Portland Trail Blazers nearly pulled off a hearty victory Thursday night. Instead, it was a rancorous defeat.

With just 1.9 seconds left and trailing the Portland Trail Blazers 89-87, Boston’s Evan Turner hit a 3-point shot that pushed the Celtics to a 90-89 victory at the Moda Center.

The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Celtics, and snapped a 24-game road losing streak against teams from the Western Conference. It was the team’s first win over the Blazers in three seasons.

Boston had four starters in double figures paced by Avery Bradley with 18 points. Jared Sullinger added 17 points and nine rebounds.

Damian Lillard had 21 points and seven assists to lead Portland, which has lost five of its last six as the team struggles with injuries to their front line. Already without Aldridge and starting center Robin Lopez, starting forward Nicolas Batum left the game with a wrist injury that has been nagging him.

“Everybody knows what Nic can bring and what LA brings, so we have to figure out diffident ways of scoring and sometimes different ways of playing,” said Blazers coach Terry Stotts. “The differences are fairly obvious.”

Lillard’s 3-pointer put Portland up 87-81 with 4:44 left, but the Celtics answered, pulling within 87-85 on Bradley’s pull-up jumper before Sullinger’s put-back layup tied it.

Wesley Matthews missed one of two free throws to give the Blazers the edge, and a turnover gave Portland the ball on the other end. But the Blazers struggled to score and settled for Thomas Robinson’s free throw to lead 89-87 with 26.6 seconds left.

Boston missed a shot, but snared the rebound, and on the ensuing inbounds play, nearly had the ball stolen from Sullinger. But, scrambling on the floor, Sullinger flipped the ball to Turner for the go-ahead 3-pointer, and Lillard couldn’t get a shot off before the buzzer.

Most fans at the game were looking for a call of jump ball as Sullinger was tearing the ball from a pile of layers and passing to a wide open Turner.

The Blazers were hit before the game with the news that Aldridge had torn a ligament in his left thumb and would need surgery. The 6-foot-11 power forward is expected to miss from six to eight weeks.

Aldridge was injured in Monday’s 98-94 victory over the Sacramento Kings. He leads Portland with averages of 23.5 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.18 blocks per game.

“It’s tough,” Aldridge told reporters in Portland’s locker room before the game. “I definitely didn’t want to have anything like this going on right now.”

The injury is blow to the Blazers, who were already without Lopez because of a fractured right hand and center Joel Freeland with a right shoulder strain.

The Celtics shook up their lineup, starting Brandon Bass instead of Tyler Zeller. Coach Brad Stevens said before the game he wanted to see Bass and Sullinger play together.

“We’re not accomplished enough to say we have to have on starting lineup right now,” Stevens said pregame.

Matthews said of the loss, “We blew it. We had possessions, we had chances, we had opportunities.”

Blazers link another win

Portland edges Phoenix in a battle of early-season surprise teams
Nov. 13, 2013

PORTLAND - A couple inches around the rim and a strong game from Thomas Robinson helped the Portland Trail Blazers beat Phoenix Wednesday night to continue their early-season hot play.

Leading 90-89 with 6.5 seconds left, Phoenix had three lay-up attempts roll around the rim without finding the net and the Blazers won to improve to 6-2 overall, dropping the Suns to 5-3.

Phoenix led by as many as nine points late in the third quarter, but Portland got a game-high 15 points from second-year forward Robinson and won its fourth-straight game before 19,537 fans at the Moda Center.

Damian Lillard managed just 11 points, but scored on an uncontested lay-up to give the Blazers the lead and hand the ball over to the Suns for the final, dramatic action.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Portland, which next begins a four-game road swing through the Eastern Conference at Boston Friday night.



PORTLAND - The Portland Trail Blazers, who ended last season with a 13-game losing streak, are off to a 5-2 start and taking a hard look at its early success -- with an eye on improvement.

After a 109-103 victory over Detroit on Monday, the Blazers were concerned by a late push by the Pistons that brought them within three points after Portland had built a 13-point, second-half lead.

"We can't relax and let a team get back like that," Nicolas Batum said.

Robin Lopez warned about being complacent: "That's something we need to fend off. We need to be mentally tougher, mentally stronger. `'

But Damian Lillard, who rebounded from a rough shooting night in the Blazers' previous game to score 25 points, said this season Portland is better equipped to fight off late opponent runs.

"Last year some games we'd have an answer and get a big win and other times we'd let the game get away from us," Lillard said. "Now we've got a different level of confidence in those situations and we expect to win those games."

Brandon Jennings had 28 points and four rebounds for Detroit. Acquired by the Pistons in an offseason sign-and-trade with Milwaukee, Jennings came into the game the game needing one rebound for 1,000 in his career, and one point for 5,000.

Jennings' alley-oop layup from Rodney Stuckey pulled the Pistons within 107-103 with 1:28 left. After he stole the ball from Lillard and was fouled by Batum, Jennings drove to the basket but missed a layup and fouled Lillard on the rebound. Lillard made free throws for the final margin and Stuckey missed a 3-pointer on the other end.

"It's very difficult. We knew coming in they were a team that takes a lot of 3s," Jennings said. "They were on fire tonight."

The Blazers made 11 3-pointers, including five from Lillard. It was Portland's sixth straight victory at home over the Pistons.

The Trail Blazers were coming off a pair of victories over the Sacramento Kings in a home-and-away back-to-back. Lillard, last season's NBA Rookie of the Year, was 1 of 15 from the floor with four points in the Blazers' 96-85 victory on Saturday night.

"When players like that have a bad game you know they rarely have two consecutive bad games," Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said. "He's a confident player and shooter and tonight he showed that."

Portland was one of just five teams in the NBA with two players averaging more than 20 points. LaMarcus Aldridge was averaging 23.3 points and Lillard was averaging 20.5 heading into the game.

Aldridge finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds against Detroit. His 15-footer that put the Blazers out in front 20-11 in the first quarter.

Portland held onto the lead through the second, going up 38-30 on Dorell Wright's layup. Detroit came back with a 13-4 run capped by Stuckey's 3-pointer to pull ahead 43-42.

Greg Monroe's jumper knotted the score at 51 but Lillard answered with a 3-pointer and the Blazers went on to lead 58-55 at the half.

Aldridge made an acrobatic layup and Joel Freeland added a basket to give the Blazers a 77-70 lead late in the third quarter. Andre Drummond's alley-oop dunk narrowed it to 83-80 for the Pistons to open the fourth quarter.

Lopez's slam off Batum's no-look pass with 4:29 left gave the Blazers their biggest lead of the game at 104-92. Lopez, acquired by the Blazers in a three-team trade this summer from New Orleans, finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Afterward, Aldridge joked: "His mom is here. She's staying the rest of the season."

Charlie Villanueva made his season debut for the Pistons after returning from a shoulder injury and had two points. Drummond had 16 points and 16 rebounds.

Detroit was coming off a 119-110 loss to Oklahoma City on Friday night. Jennings had his first double-double with the Pistons with 22 points and 11 assists against the Thunder.

Game notes

Cheeks was coach of the Blazers for three-plus seasons from 2001-05. ... Rasheed Wallace, who played for the Blazers from 1996-2004, is an assistant on Cheeks' staff. ... The Blazers and the Pistons split their series last season, with each team winning at home. ... The Blazers have made at least eight 3-pointers in all of their games this season, the team's longest streak ever. ... Aldridge's 11th rebound tonight was the 4,000th of his career.


Batum trade would spark Blazers

Wed, 06/19/2013 - 10:01am
Cliff Pfenning
Cliff Pfenning's picture
Last seen: 2 days 19 hours ago
Joined: 2010-07-01

The magic that has always seemed to be brewing in Oakland, Calif., with the Golden State Warriors finally happened during the NBA season and made the team the SPORTSLAND, Oregon "Overachievers of the Year" during Monday night's podcast, recorded at Blitz in the Pearl District of Northwest Portland.

The Warriors, New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers were other notable selections after the Warriors, who were among the top two picks of the show's four cast menbers: Derek Weber, Marlon Thomas, Michael Chamberlain and host Cliff Pfenning.

Golden State finished 47-35 and sixth in the Western Conference, then won their first-round playoff series over Denver. Last season, the Warriors were 23-43 during the strike-shortened schedule.

And, the other side, "Underachievers of the Year?" Easy: the Los Angeles Lakers.

Los Angeles built itself to win the league title with the acquisition of Dwight Howard and then Steve Nash during the offseason, but the team didn't win any preseason games, got clobbered in Portland in its season opener, and barely reached the playoffs, where they were routinely dispatched by San Antonio.

And Portland? The Blazers continue to be one of the quietest franchises in the NBA, something the panel tosses about as being a good or bad trait.

It's all from Northwest Portland, recorded every Monday night.

Rose Garden rally

The Blazers come from 12 down to beat Miami before a fired up crowd
Jan. 10, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) The upstart Portland Trail Blazers would not allow the Miami Heat to pull out of its funk.

Wesley Matthews hit a 3-pointer to put Portland in front with 26.9 seconds left and the Blazers hung on to beat Miami 92-90 Thursday night for their fourth straight win and ninth straight at the Rose Garden.

The Blazers (20-15) are now 12-3 in their last 15 games.

"Our confidence is extremely high,'' Matthews said. "Playing hard, playing well, we're having fun out there. So that's a great combination.''

The Heat, meanwhile, have lost two straight and five of eight, yet the defending NBA champions are still 23-11 and lead the Eastern Conference by a half-game over New York.

LeBron James had 15 points, snapping his 54-game streak with at least 20 points that dated back to last season. It was his lowest point total in the last 76 regular-season and playoff contests. But James did have 10 rebounds and nine assists against Portland.

Miami led by as many as 13 points, including a 52-39 advantage at the half, but Nicolas Batum hit a layup and a free throw with 4:03 left that pulled Portland into an 82-all tie. The Blazers couldn't go ahead and Bosh made a 3 to make it 87-84 with 1:53 left.

Matthews made a 3-pointer to tie it at 88 with just under a minute to go, and after Chris Bosh dunked, Matthews hit another 3 to finally give the Blazers a 91-90 lead. LaMarcus Aldridge missed the first of two free throws with 10.4 seconds left for the final margin.

Mario Chalmers missed a 3-pointer for the Heat as time ran out.

Batum led the Blazers with 28 points, and Aldridge had 20 points and 15 rebounds. Matthews finished with 18 points.

"It felt great,'' Matthews said about his go-ahead 3. "It looked better.''

Bosh had 29 points for the Eastern Conference-leading Heat, who were coming off an 87-77 loss to the Pacers on Tuesday night. Dwyane Wade had 18 points.

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Blazers avenge loss in Sacramento

Portland returns home and pounds the Kings' starters in 109-91 route
Dec. 26, 2012

After having their five-game win streak snapped by a team with lockerroom trouble, the Portland Trail Blazers bounced back like a potential playoff team should and beat Sacramento 109-91 Wednesday at the Rose Garden.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 28 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Blazers.

"The way we played (three) days ago wasn't us,'' said Nicolas Batum, who had 18 points for Portland. "We wanted to get back on track against this team. It was so good to beat them in a big way.''

J.J. Hickson added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Blazers, who built a double-digit lead in the second quarter and then ran away from the Kings, leading by as many as 26 points. Rookie point guard Damian Lillard had 17 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.

John Salmons led the Kings with 19 points. Reserve Isaiah Thomas had 12 points and Jason Thompson added 11. The Kings are 1-12 on the road this season - the only win coming Dec. 8 against the Blazers.

Portland has won nine of its last 10 games at home. The Blazers tied up the season series with the Kings after losing to them 108-96 on Sunday in Sacramento, which snapped the Blazers' five-game winning streak. Sacramento shot 56 percent from the field in that game, but after a good start Wednesday, went cold and shot just 40 percent for the game.



An inspired line-up of Sacramento Kings rallied from an early deficit to end Portland's five-game win streak with a 108-96 victory over the Blazers Sunday night.

Sacramento, which played without starting center DeMarcus Cousins due a team suspension, scored 15 straight points in the second quarter to turn a 10-point deficit into a five-point lead and pushed it forward from there. Marcus Thornton led the team with 22 points.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points and 11 rebounds and J.J. Hickson had 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead Portland, which had moved into eighth place in the Western Conference with its win streak.

The loss dropped the Blazers to 13-13 overall and into ninth place with Utah's win over Orlando.



Damain Lillard scored 25 points, J.J. Hickson hauled in 15 rebounds and Nicolas Batum doled out eight assists in one of the best team performances of the season for the Portland Trail Blazers Saturday night.

Combined with the return of LaMarcus Aldridge, the Blazers ended a four-game win streak by Phoenix and extended their own to five, 96-93, at the Rose Garden.

Aldridge, who sat out Thursday's win over Denver with an ankle injury, scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 37 minutes of action.




Following a stretch of six losses in eight games, the Portland Trail Blazers, somewhat amazingly, moved themselves into the realm of challenging for a playoff spot Thursday night with a 101-93 win over the Denver Nuggets.

Nicolas Batum scored a team-high 22 points and J.J. Hickson added 18 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Blazers, who improved to 12-12 while playing without All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

Aldridge sat out the game with an ankle injury that has left in day-to-day as to when he will return to active duty.

Luke Babbitt added 14 points off the bench, including a key three-point shot as Portland pulled away from an 84-81 lead. Portland hit 14 three-pointers from 36 attempts.

The Nuggets could not overcome missing all 22 of their three-point shots and fell to 14-13 overall.

With the win, the Blazers are tied with Phoenix and Toronto for the longest win streak in the NBA at four heading into a home game with Phoenix Saturday night.


Blazers defend home court against Memphis

Portland rallied late to win second game under Canales, 97-93
March 22, 2012

Another 30-point blowout failed to appear Thursday night at the Rose Garden, being replaced instead by a pride-filled victory for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Nicolas Batum scored 24 points to lead the Blazers past Memphis, 97-93, getting the win by outscoring the Grizzlies 31-24 in the fourth quarter.

Jamal Crawford added 17 points and the Blazers went 25-for-25 at the free throw line, setting a season-best performance for the NBA.

The win moved the Blazers to 22-25 on the season and kept them within 3.5 games of a playoff berth. Interim coach Kaleb Canales improved to 2-2 on the season.

Marc Gasol scored 23 points to lead Memphis, which is tied for fifth in the super-competitive Western Conference playoff race. Six teams: Dallas, Memphis, the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston, Denver and Utah, are within 1.5 games of fourth place with the Jazz as the hottest of the group having won five straight to improve to 25-22.

Portland is behind Phoenix, 23-24, and Minnesota, 23-25, with 19 games remaining on the 66-game regular season schedule.

The Blazers play at the Los Angeles Lakers tonight, then begin a three-game homestand Sunday against the Golden State Warriors.


Blazers get healthy before road trip

Portland rolls past New Orleans, begins key stretch at Minnesota
March 5, 2012

Nicolas Batum tossed in 19 points and struggling Raymond Felton added 10 to lead the Portland Trail Blazers past New Orleans, 86-74, Monday at the Rose Garden.

Although LaMarcus Aldridge struggled again with just 10 points, he did grab 11 rebounds and help the team end a three-game losing streak and move back to .500 at 19-19.

The Blazers begin a seven-game road trip Wednesday at Minnesota, which beat Portland Saturday and edged the Los Angeles Clippers 95-94 Monday night.

Portland heads for the road two games behind Houston in the race for eighth place and a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Blazers, who are a half-game behind Minnesota, play four playoff teams in the six games after Wednesday's game at Minnesota.

Wednesday: Minnesota (10-19)

Friday: at Boston (19-17)

Saturday: at Washington (8-29)

Tuesday: at Indiana (23-13)

March 14: at New York (18-19)

March 16: at Chicago (32-8)

March 18: at Oklahoma City

Road Kill reversal

Blazers respond to Monday's loss with epic rout of Spurs, 137-97
Feb. 21, 2012

How good were the Portland Trail Blazers Tuesday night? They scored a season-high 41 points in the first quarter.

Or how bad were they the previous night, when they scored just seven?

The Blazers washed away Monday's loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles with a 137-97 blowout of the San Antonio Spurs, who sat starters Tim Duncan and Tony Parker and also played without Manu Ginobili as part of sign that 11 straight wins were enough to show their status as one of the league's elite teams.

Portland had six players score 16 points or more and improved to 17-15 heading to the All-Star Break, in which all of its players other than forward LaMarcus Aldridge get a week off. Aldridge, selected by coaches as an All-Star for the first time, will be in Orlando, Fla., over the weekend.

Aldridge scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 27 minutes.

Portland coach Nate McMillan stared sixth-man Jamal Crawford at point guard in place of Raymond Felton, a move that followed Nicolas Batum becoming a starter at shooting guard last week.



Portland's season-low point total for a first half led to another road loss Monday night.

After scoring just 30 points in the first half and falling behind by 29 early in the third quater, the Blazers rallied to within 10 before losing 103-92 to the Los Angeles Lakers in a nationally-televised game from the Staples Center.

Portland got 18 points each from LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum and another 15 from Jamal Crawford off the bench, but shot just 41 percent from the field and got outrebounded 51-37.

The Lakers got 28 points from Kobe Bryant and 17 from former Blazer Steve Blake, who hit 5 of 6 attempts from three-point range.

Despite the poor first half, Portland got within 84-74 with 7:30 left in the game and had the ball. The Lakers responded with a 6-0 run and the teams closed out the game with little drama.

The Blazers fell to 17-16 heading into Tuesday's game against San Antonio at the Rose Garden. Following the game, the Blazers have a week off for the All-Star Weekend.

The Lakers improved to 19-13.



LaMarcus Aldridge and Raymond Felton returned to form to lead the Trail Blazers to a 97-77 win over Atlanta that snapped a four-game losing streak at the Rose Garden Saturday.

Aldridge, sidelined for most of the week with a tweaked ankle, scored 19 points and hauled in 10 rebounds, while Felton had 14 points and 10 assists after "missing" a home loss to the Clippers Thursday in which he went scoreless.

Nicolas Batum, continuing his strong play, scored 22 points to lead the Blazers, who improved to 17-15 and remained just a half-game from a playoff spot and one game from the fifth seed in the Western Conference.

Portland plays at the Los Angeles Lakers Monday in a nationally-televised game and then is host to the San Antonio Spurs before taking a week off for the All-Star Break.

Atlanta, which had beaten the Blazers in their last six meetings, dropped to 19-12. The Hawks, who are 10-7 in road games, were outrebounded 50-27.



Chris Paul scored all 13 of his points in the final 10 minutes and led the Los Angeles Clippers past the Portland Trail Blazers 74-71 in an offensive struggle at the Rose Garden Thursday.

Portland got 19 points from Nicolas Batum and led by as many as 18 points in the first half, but struggled to score in the closing minutes and lost its fourth-straight home game.

Portland led 60-52 with 9:15 left in the game when Paul scored his first points.

Blake Griffin scored 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to help the Clippers, who played their third game in four nights, to 19-9 overall.

Gerald Wallace scored 19 points for Portland, which played its third game in three nights. The Blazers, who missed LaMarcus Aldridge for the second straight night, fell to 16-15 and ninth place in the Western Conference standings.

Batum scored 15 points in the first quarter, but rarely shot thereafter.

The Blazers fell to 2-10 in games decided by four points or less.

Portland plays host to Atlanta Saturday, at the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday and host to San Antonio Tuesday.

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