Nicolas Batum is known as a versatile player for the Portland Trail Blazers, but his all-around performance on Saturday got him attention for the wrong reasons when he recorded the first triple-double of the 2013-14 NBA season against the San Antonio Spurs.
With a win over the Spurs already in hand and Batum on the cusp of securing a triple-double, the Blazers' starting small forward hoisted a three-pointer that went through the net as time expired.
Batum finished the game with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in a 115-105 victory over San Antonio, but even he knew after the game that he had done the wrong thing.
He made it a point to apologize profusely after the game to the Spurs' organization:
"That is maybe the worst thing I’ve done in my career right now," Batum said. "I want to apologize to the Spurs organization, because ..."— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) November 3, 2013
Batum cont: "...that didn’t show good (respect) for the game, for myself, for the Blazers. I don’t really want to disrespect this team."— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) November 3, 2013
Gregg Popovich made sure to point out that he had no hard feelings toward Batum for what he did, but one gets the feeling that it really ground Pop's gears to see something like that done against his team.
Coach Poppvich says he has no issue with #Blazers F Nicolas Batum shooting that shot to get his triple-double. Says Batum is a good kid.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) November 3, 2013
There's no doubt that Batum is a huge part of what the Blazers need to do if they're going to be successful, and although the first triple-double of the season should be celebrated, Batum's performance will be viewed in different ways because of the circumstances.
In the grand scheme of the season, there's little reason to think that this will really matter.
However, if Portland sneaks into the back end of the Western Conference playoff picture and the Blazers get a first-round matchup against the Spurs?
Then it becomes a whole new ballgame.