This clip of Nicolas Batum highlights (and lowlights) from Saturday night’s double-overtime win over the Cavaliers is great, because we get to experience the struggle before the ultimate redemption.
It begins with two missed dunks in the first and second quarters, shots that Batum (and most NBA players with his skill set) can usually get to go down.
Next, we see Batum get the 15-foot putback to go that would have won the game at the end of the first OT, except the ball was still in his hands, we headed to the second extra session.
Finally, the game-winner, on just an incredible catch-and-shoot — not only to make sure both feet were behind the three-point line, but to keep concentration to line up the shot while fading with the defender coming at him.
Good win for the Blazers, who have had as rough a start to the season as the Cavaliers team they sent home with the heartbreaking loss.
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There’s this overplayed angle talked about by some fans and pundits suggesting the Warriors just got lucky last season — for example, they faced a banged-up Rockets’ team in the conference finals then a Cavaliers’ squad without two of their big three through the Finals. Then there was Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers saying the Warriors were lucky not having to play the Clippers or Spurs in the postseason.
– “I wanted to play the Clippers last year, but they couldn’t handle their business.”
– “If we got lucky, look at our record against them last year (Warriors 3-1). I’m pretty sure we smacked them.”
– “Didn’t they lose to the Rockets? Exactly. So haha. That just makes me laugh. That’s funny. Weren’t they up 3-1 too?”
– “Yeah, tell them I said that. That’s funny. That’s funny.”
If you think the Warriors just won because they were lucky — you are dead wrong.
They were the best team in the NBA last season, bar none. They won 67 regular season games in a tough conference, then beat everyone in their path to win a title. Did they catch some breaks along the way, particularly with health? You bet. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant didn’t win a title without catching some breaks along the way, either. Nobody does. Luck plays a role, but it was not the primary factor in why the Warriors are champs.
All this talk of them getting lucky is fuel for the fire they needed not to be complacent this season. Way to give the defending champs bulletin board material, Doc.