Blazers' Nicolas Batum apologizes for triple-double-clinching buzzer-beater
The Portland Trail Blazers beat the San Antonio Spurs 115-105 in their home opener on Saturday night and forward Nicolas Batum recorded his third career triple-double.
But Batum appeared crushed in the locker room after the game because of the way he sealed that triple-double: on a buzzer-beating three-pointer with the game already decided.
The 24-year-old told reporters following the game that the triple-double-clinching shot -- which gave him 11 points to go along with 12 rebounds and 11 assists -- was "maybe the worst thing I've done in my career."
He was somber and apologetic in what otherwise was a boisterous, jubilant postgame locker room. Batum entered the season saying he didn’t care about individual statistics and accolades. Not only did the shot go against that pledge, he said, it disrespected the Spurs and the game.
“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.”