Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 12/18/12
Lillard’s heroics bring big win The Headline: Damian Lillard hits the game winner and Nicolas Batum posts a 5×5 as Portland tops New Oreleans 95-94. New Orleans Hornets vs. Portland Trail Blazers When: 9:00 ET, Sunday, December 16, 2012 Where: Rose Garden (Portland) Officials: David Guthrie, Kevin Scott, Mike Callahan Attendance: 18,772 Love ‘em Batum fills the stat sheet The thing about this game—that seems to be getting buried—is how good Nicolas Batum was. He became just the eighth player in NBA history to record a 5-by-5. That’s recording at least five of the five major stat categories—points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals. To be exact, Batum finished his night with 11 points, 10 assists, five rebounds five blocks and five steals. That is ridiculous. Hopefully this means Batum is continuing to come out of his funk. He shot over 30 percent for a second game in a row, and hit more than one three-pointer—something he hadn’t done since December 3rd. The shot heard around Blazer Nation (Photo: Bruce Ely / The Oregonian) Hickson has huge night It’s hard to continuously make the point that J.J. Hickson should be coming off the bench when he continues to have nights like this. Portland’s center had a huge night, posting a double-double with 24 points and 16 rebounds. He reached the feat with 10-14 shooting and a perfect 50/50 split between offensive and defensive boards. Overall defense was again in issue for Portland’s bigs, but more on that further down. Lillard for the win Even though it shouldn’t be the highlight of this game, it’s impossible to talk about the matchup without touching on Lillard. Portland’s rookie point guard had his first game winner Sunday, as he drained a three from atop the arc just as the clock struck 0.00. Video—as well as a detailed description of the play—can be seen here. Hate ‘em Wesley leaves early Hampered by a hip injury, Wesley Matthews has tried his best to get back in the game. He had yet to play since December 8th before starting Sunday. And after three minutes and thirty seconds, he was back on the bench. Portland has managed a three-game winning streak without their shooting guard, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t missed. The Blazers don’t have any great options on the bench, and could use Wes back ASAP. Coming up short in the paint Unsurprisingly, Portland was far from stellar on defense Sunday. The Blazers were challenged in the paint, being outscored 36-46 and out rebounded 36-43. That was with New Orleans rookie—and No. 1 pick—Anthony Davis coming off the bench. CLICK HERE CHECK OUT OUR TRAIL BLAZERS BLOG AT THE NWSB!
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