Nicolas Batum recorded the first triple-double of the NBA season on Saturday, finishing with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in the Blazers’ win over the Spurs.
The problem, at least in Batum’s eyes, was the way in which he ultimately achieved this statistical feat.
The game’s outcome had firmly been decided, with Portland leading by seven points and in possession of the ball with just four seconds remaining. Instead of dribbling out the clock, Batum impulsively launched a long three-pointer that fell through the net as the final buzzer sounded.
But there was no celebration, no running around, and barely even a smile.
Batum immediately regretted his decision, and while his teammates celebrated around him in the postgame locker room, he was clearly disappointed in himself for taking that final shot.
“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.”
In the visiting locker room at the Moda Center, the Spurs (2-1) weren’t too concerned. Batum’s good friend, Tony Parker, offered congratulations. Even surly coach Gregg Popovich shrugged it off.
“Why would I be mad at that?” Popovich said. “He’s a good kid. I don’t care.” …
“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.”
Batum’s reaction, both on the court and in the locker room afterward, tells you that he knows what he did was wrong. This wasn’t an Andray Blatche or Ricky Davis situation; Batum made a poor decision in the moment, and immediately regretted it afterward.
Tim Duncan’s on-court reaction, though (via Bruce Ely) was priceless.
— Bruce Ely (@bruceely) November 3, 2013