Why Batum only played 20 minutes…

ESPN’s John Hollinger has your answer to the Game 5 question:

The problem is any hit to the shoulder presents a risk, and that’s a double problem because of how Portland wants to use him. Ideally, the Blazers would like to put Batum on Steve Nash, but the Suns run pick-and-roll on nearly every play – which means they’re putting Batum’s shoulder at risk of smashing into a screener on nearly every trip.

That’s what happened to Batum in Game 5, causing a setback that sent him to the sideline icing his shoulder, which is why he only played 20 minutes. It’s also why we didn’t see Batum on Nash in Game 5, and why we probably won’t see it before the fourth quarter tomorrow.

Of all the rotation issues in that game, this was the most befuddling, so it’s nice to have an answer, even if it means more problems for Batum. If only we could discover why Webster hardly played until the second half, and why Rudy is getting more of a cup-of-coffee chance anymore.

Topics: Brandon Roy, Epsn, First Round, France, Game 6, John Hollinger, NBA General, NBA Playoffs, Nicolas Batum, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Steve Nash

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  • http://www.couriernewculture.blogspot.com Travis

    True, and Amare has been lining up to hit Batum’s shoulder all series, even when it’s not a basketball play. Dirty. Batum should bring an elbow high on one of those.

    I think you still need to do it, though. Nate needs to go with his best lineup and best matchups at this point. If Batum gets a hard shot and needs to sit, then maybe he shouldn’t have been out there in the first place, and you bring in Webster or Dante.

  • http://ripcityproject.com Coup

    As long as it’s Webster or Dante vs. Rudy and Howard. This puts a little damper on my idea to play Batum at 4 for a couple short stretches to switch things up when Frye is in.