First and foremost, there was the flash of late game brilliance from the league’s best newcomer. Hornets guard Greivis Vazquez fell just two rebounds short of a triple double (the first of his career), finishing with 23 points, 11 assists, and 8 rebounds. The Blazers’ JJ Hickson had himself a terrific outing, collecting 24 points and snagging 16 boards.
Perhaps one of the more interesting lines from last night belonged to Portland’s Nicolas Batum. The French-born guard seemed to have registered a significant amount in practically every meaningful category.
Before game’s end, Batum would piece together an impressive line: 11 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 5 steals.
With that, Batum became the first player to record a 5 x 5 since Andrei Kirilenko did it against the Lakers in 2006 (H/T Eye On Basketball). With his 10 assists, Batum become the first player to record a 10 assist, 5 steals, and 5 blocks game since Jamaal Tinsley back in 2001 (H/T NBA.com).
Though he’s been feeling a slight offensive slump (through last 5 games, shooting 31% from the field, 24% from three), Batum is finding a comfort zone as a rare breed in basketball.
The Andrei Kirilenko and Andre Iguodala’s of the NBA world-the do-everything players- are few and far between. With his ascension into the radars of a national audience, Batum is quickly establishing himself as one of those players.
Now averaging 28 minutes per game, Batum is putting up just under 16 points per game, 5.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, just under 2 steals per game, and 1.2 blocks.
One can’t help but think that Batum hasn’t quite reached his peak. That, in and of itself, should be pretty frightening.
Mohamed Abdihakim is a journalism student at Florida Atlantic University. He is a Phoenix Suns fan, who is not prepared for the possibility of Nash winning a title in a Lakers jersey. Mohamed is also a contributor at “Les Snobs”. Interests include International basketball, Mad Men, and blues music. Nearly all stats are credited to Hoopdata or Basketball-Reference.
Twitter handle: @Abdi_hakim