Nicolas Batum Attends Ceremony To Honor 70th Anniversary Of D-Day

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 years ago

Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day. On June 6, 1944, Allied forces comprised mostly of American, British, French and Canadian soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy in northern France by sea and air straight into the teeth of the German Nazi army in the first major operation after the United States joined World War II after the bombings at Pearl Harbor. It was an exceedingly bloody and harrowing battle, with estimates that as many as 100,000 soldiers, on both sides, perished before the beachhead that would allow Allied forces to eventually liberate Europe from the Axis powers was established.

To honor the sacrifice of both the living and dead who took the beaches of Normandy, dignitaries and heads of states from countries that took part in the invasion have descended on Ouistreham, one of the invasion points on D-Day code-named “Sword Beach,” for what will likely be the last chance to pay tribute to the veterans who survived the operation (the youngest WWII veterans are now well into their 80s).

And it just so happens Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum is there for the ceremony. Batum grew up in the Normandy region and got his first taste playing professional basketball playing in Caen, a city located just south of the site of the invasion that was all but leveled in the bombings leading up to D-Day. He’s been posting photos from the ceremony on social media, which you can see below …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blazers Blowout Hornets As Batum Stumbles In His Return To Portland

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
4 months ago

PORTLAND — When Nicolas Batum played against the Trail Blazers for the first time in his career earlier in the season, he led the Hornets to a blowout win versus his old team in Charlotte. Friday night at the Moda Center, Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers returned the favor.

Lillard scored 22 points to help Portland defeat Charlotte 109-91 in front of a sellout crowd of 19,393 to move to 22-26 on the season and 13-10 at home. The Trail Blazers are now 7-2 in their last nine games and have won eight consecutive home games against the Hornets.

After a first half that saw 14 lead changes and neither team take more than a seven-point lead, the Trail Blazers went on an 18-4 run that spanned the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth to blow the game open. Portland would expand their lead to 20 in the fourth before Charlotte made one last push, cutting the deficit to single digits with just over four minutes to play.

But the Trail Blazers would finish the game by outscoring the Hornets 9-2 to come away with an 18-point victory.

“I’m glad we closed the game the way we did,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “They made their run, they got aggressive, I thought we missed some chances offensively and they got their momentum. I didn’t think it was anything that we couldn’t take care of but I’m glad that when they cut it down, we made the plays  that we needed to make.”

Along with Lillard, the Trail Blazers had four other players score in double figures. CJ McCollum shook off a tough shooting start to finish with 17 points on 7-of-16 shooting, five rebounds and five assists in 33 minutes. Al-Farouq Aminu also finished with 17 points on seven made shots, but also added 12 points, two steals and an assist.

“I liked the tone he set early in the game defensively,” said Stotts of Aminu. “He really took the challenge of guarding Nic (Batum) and that was really good for us. Obviously, the scoring, the rebounding and the double-double speaks for itself, but I thought the biggest thing he gave us was setting the tone defensively.”

Mason Plumlee tallied his 13th double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds while also adding five assists, two steals and two blocks in just under 29 minutes.

Allen Crabbe came off the bench to score 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting and is averaging 16.5 points on 52 percent shooting in his last two games.

For as good as Batum was in the first game versus the team he spent his first seven seasons with, he was just as bad in his second attempt. The 6-9 Frenchman went 1-of-11 from the field for just five points and turned the ball over six times. Marvin Williams picked up some of that slack, scoring 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field and 4-of-7 shooting from three. Brian Roberts scored 17 points off the bench and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 13 points and seven rebounds in his first game back from missing the first part of the season with a shoulder injury.

Next up, the Trail Blazers near the end of their longest homestand by hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday night at the Moda Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 pm.

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Nicolas Batum Talks Returning To Portland, Missing The Rain And Regretting Free Agency

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
4 months ago

Friday night at the Moda Center, the Portland Trail Blazers will host the Hornets and Nicolas Batum, who is the fourth and final member of Portland’s starting lineup from last season (though longer in Batum’s case) to return to the Moda Center for the first time since (in his case) being traded to Charlotte in the offseason in exchange for Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh.

Batum took questions from the Portland media after Charlotte’s shootaround Friday morning at the Moda Center on a range of topics, which you can read or listen to below…

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Your initial thoughts on coming back to Portland and playing in the Moda Center for the first time as a visitor.

Nicolas Batum: “Spent seven years in the same locker room and same bench. Coming back after six, seven months on the other side, that’s kind of weird. It’s kind of weird but it’s going to be a special night for me tonight. It’s a good feeling to be back here. This is one of the best arenas in the NBA, maybe the craziest and biggest fans in the league, too. It just feels good to be back here for a night.”

Have you noticed differences in Portland since leaving?

Nicolas Batum: “Yesterday after practice I just walked around the city a little bit, the Pearl, all that stuff. This city hasn’t changed, this city won’t change. This will be the same spot, that’s what I like about this town.”

You mentioned back in Charlotte before the first game versus the Blazers that you were looking forward to the rain and being back in Portland…

Nicolas Batum: “It was sunny!… It was raining for the last six, seven days then got two days of sun. That’s messed up, come on. I need some rain.”

How are you getting along in Charlotte, both personally and professionally?

Nicolas Batum: “Good. Charlotte is a nice city, it’s a great city. The weather is different there too, city got more sun and less rain, but the city is good, the city is great. We have a good football team, too. They’re doing well so far, sorry for the Seahawks. I was at the game… The city is cool, got a good vibe, they love their basketball team. Personally, I love it there. I’ve got my wife there with me, we both love it. My family came over for the holidays and they enjoyed it too. I like it there.”

From a playing perspective, how do you feel your first season in Charlotte has gone and where you’re at now?

Nicolas Batum: “The last four week we got a lot of injuries, that slowed us down a little bit. Had a great first two months, played pretty good. Personally — and as a team I think — we’ve had a couple injuries, I’ve been in and out the last four weeks. But I think when everybody is going to be back we have a good run to make the playoffs. I think that we need just health. Jeremy (Lin) went down last game but he’s going to be back with Jeremy Lamb, Jeremy Lin, Al Jefferson and Mike (Kidd-Gilchrist) and Cody (Zeller), that’s all big, key guys. We’re going to be back, going to be a good team.”

Being on the east coast are you able to keep up more with the family and friends in France?

Nicolas Batum: “Yeah, I mean, that’s different too. From nine hours to six hours difference in France, so that’s kind of an adjustment, too. But that’s cool, three hours isn’t a huge difference. The only difference for me is when I come to the east coast now, because when we play at 7, that’s 10 back home. That’s the only difference.”

Do you watch more soccer now?

Nicolas Batum: “I do. I keep watching them, you know me. Congrats to the Timbers, by the way. I haven’t said that yet, but I was very happy for them.”

We talked a little about this in Charlotte, but how do you think you’re going to be received? You’re the last of the four starters to play back here in Portland. How do you think the fans are going to treat you?

Nicolas Batum: “Like I told you a couple months ago, I didn’t leave by myself. That’s it. I understand the business side of this league, but I spent seven great years here, I got great memories. We have some up and down. The only regret time maybe was free agency. The way… my age and what I said. I’m glad they matched, I’m glad they did match, trust me. I’m glad because I had a great three years after that. But I don’t know. I’m glad I’m back here for a night, it will be weird for me, special night, but I hope it will be a good welcome back.”

I’m glad you mentioned free agency since some people on Twitter pointed to that as a potential reason to boo you.

Nicolas Batum: “I was young, that was free agency, that was a special situation. I love this city.”

Damian Lillard said there were times you’d tell him ‘Dame, there’s still time to take over the game.’ How did you enjoy your time with Dame?

Nicolas Batum: “You could see it from Day One, since training camp. I didn’t know him, he was from Weber State. I mean, nobody knew of Weber State before him, so I didn’t know him, but we could see it from training camp to the first preseason game, he was special, too. During his rookie season I was like ‘Maybe it’s time for you to take over and show who you are, because you can do it.’ I think I was right. I don’t know, I don’t take all the credit for Dame.”

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Nicolas Batum (nasal contusion) Expected To Play Versus Houston

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 years ago

Nicolas Batum took a shot to the nose from Monta Ellis in the third quarter of Friday night’s loss to the Mavericks in Dallas. He didn’t leave the game, though his nose did swell up noticeably, prompting some (myself included) to wonder if Batum had suffered a broken nose. After the game, Batum had an x-ray on his nose, which came back negative for a fracture. Despite that, there was a report citing Batum’s agent Saturday morning stating that the 6-9 small forward had sustained a broken nose.

But today prior to practice, the team PR account tweeted that Batum had in fact NOT fractured his nose. Rather, he suffered a “nasal contusion” …

Whether or not Batum is hindered by the contusion is not yet known, but according to the team, he will play in Sunday afternoon’s game against the Rockets in Houston.

UPDATE: Batum confirmed that he did not suffer a broken nose after Saturday’s practice in Houston, though he did say he heard a “crack” after

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being elbowed by Ellis at the 8:03 mark in the third quarter of Friday night’s loss. Batum had sustained a broken nose prior to being drafted and it’s unclear if it was ever properly reset, which might be why there was some confusion as to whether his nose was broken Friday night.

“I already broke my nose before I got drafted,” said Batum. “I received a big hit (from Ellis) on it, that’s why it swelled up, but on the x-ray, the thing I have was on before that.”

Batum was fitted for a protective mask Saturday morning in Houston, which he will try out Sunday at shootaround before deciding if he’ll wear it in the game versus the Rockets at the Toyota Center. Batum said he asked for the mask to be either red or black, though with the NBA telling LeBron James to wear a clear mask rather than a black mask leads one to believe Batum’s request will go unrequited.

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