Batum: This Triple Double Doesn't Count, We Lost
With three seconds remaining in the game and the score all tied at 95, Washington Wizards guard Jordan Crawford nailed a game-winning three-pointer over the outstretched hands of Wesley Matthews to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers 98-95 for the second time this season. This loss handed the Trail Blazers (20-21) their sixth consecutive loss and their fourth straight loss at home.
Immediately following the game, there wasn't much talk coming from the Trail Blazers' locker room, so Jared Jeffries used that silent time to address the team. He basically gave his reasoning to why the Trail Blazers have been struggling of late and he offered a solution.
“I said we got to stop this bleeding,” Jeffries said. “We got to stop (expletive) around at the beginning of the game. You can't let a team come in and get into a rhythm. If we let guys come in and get a rhythm and get comfortable, you let Martell [Webster] get comfortable and as soon as Crawford checks in the game, he gets comfortable then you wonder why he makes a shot like that. It's because you didn't take him away early, you didn't mess with his confidence at all.”
Former Trail Blazer Martell Webster scored a season-high 24 points and was four-for-six from three. Nene had 17 of his 24 points in the opening quarter. Crawford had 13 points off the bench.
The frustration level is at a all-time high this season. The Trail Blazers gave the Wizards (9-30) their first win of the season earlier in the year and even though they are a better team with the addition of John Wall, their nine wins are still a NBA worst.
The last 10 Trail Blazer games have been decided by six or fewer points. Although they manage to stay in the games, they have a difficult time getting over the hump when it's time to make a play.
“We're doing a bad job right now of playing the game consistently and the way we should,” Jeffries said. “We're a good team, but we're not taking anything away from nobody. It's frustrating because we're better than this. We're a good team and we always find a way to come back and be in games, but we need to find a way to be up in games.”
Nicolas Batum had little to say.
“I don't know what it is,” Batum said. “I'm not sure what the problem is. We're not closing games like we used to. We gotta figure it out because we got a tough schedule ahead.”
Batum got his first career triple-double collecting 12 points, a career-high 11 assist, and 10 rebounds. He's the first Trail Blazer since Brandon Roy to get a triple-double (Feb. 1 2008). He joined LeBron James and Rajon Rondo as the only players to record three steals and two blocks to go with a triple-double this season.
Matthews chipped in 17 points. LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds. JJ Hickson provided 16 points and six rebounds.
Meyers Leonard made his first appearance since spraining his right ankle in a Dec. 29 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. He came off the bench to score six points and four rebounds in 12 minutes of play.
The Trail Blazers can't feel sorry for themselves now. The Indiana Pacers are up next on the schedule.