Nicolas Batum pulls up for the jumper in the Portland win on Saturday (Getty Images)
Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum had a pretty good game going on Saturday night, entering the final seconds of the contest well on his way to an eight-point, 11-assist and 12-rebound outing in Portland’s 115-105 defeat of the San Antonio Spurs. Because we’re still weirdly obsessed with triple-doubles, though, Batum ended the evening with this needless shot attempt in the game’s final seconds:
Eee-yikes. They don’t really hand out gold stars for 11-point, 11-assist, 12-rebound games on anonymous Saturday nights in the NBA’s first week of the season, but apparently that was what Batum was gunning for.
And in the middle of it all, just as that celebratory scene unfolded, Nicolas Batum stood with a look of horror on his face.
“That is maybe the worst thing I’ve done in my career,” Batum said.
“It went in — I was like, ‘Oh, no,” Batum said of his reaction. “I didn’t mean to disrespect this team. This is the San Antonio Spurs, the best team from the last 15 years in the NBA. I’ve never disrespected this team. I love this team. I have a lot of friends on this team.”
(Batum is pals with Spurs point guard Tony Parker and forward Boris Diaw, as all three play on the formidable French national team.)
“I know this is a bad thing to do,” Batum said. “I want to apologize to the Spurs organization, because that didn’t show good (respect) for the game, for myself, for the Blazers. I don’t really want to disrespect this team.”
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, to his credit, shrugged off Batum’s final look. From the Oregonian again:
“Why would I be mad at that?” Popovich said. “He’s a good kid. I don’t care.”
Spurs center Tim Duncan, however, may have summed up his own feelings on the shot in this classic shot, taken by Bruce Ely:
— Bruce Ely (@bruceely) November 3, 2013
There really isn’t anyone to be mad at here save for those out there that cherish these sort of low-end triple-doubles. Jason Kidd was his generation’s modern master of the triple-double, finishing his career with 107 of those bad boys, but he rarely broke the bank when it came to points. A 11-point, 11-assist, 12-rebound game is nice, but you’d much prefer a 35-point, five-assist, eight-rebound sort of night from a Kobe or LeBron than Kidd or Batum’s typical triple-double output. The stat – now that the NBA has both slowed down to a relative crawl in comparison to Oscar Robertson’s triple-double heyday – is pretty pointless. Especially when it’s chased down by Audray Blatche.
Luckily Batum, to ape Coach Pop’s comments, is a good dude, and he understands this. Eight points, 11-assists and 12-rebounds? That’s a helluva game. It doesn’t need triple-double qualification for it to stand out.
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