Yup, still killing it. For the second time in the Euroleague's first four weeks, Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum, playing for SLUC Nancy in France, has been rewarded with weekly MVP honors. Batum was also named MVP for Week 2.
Here's a round-up of some recent praise.
Christopher Belac writes on the New York Times' Off The Dribble blog...
Coming off of a career year in Portland as well as a strong performance at this summer's EuroBasket, Nicolas Batum has taken his scoring touch back to France. Signing with SLUC Nancy, Batum is currently the assist leader and second-leading scorer in the Euroleague.
Baron von Rupp writes on Technorati.com about Batum's triumph over French club ASVEL, led by San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker and New York Knicks center Ronny Turiaf...
While erstwhile Portland Trailblazer Batum (21 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals) was certainly the main event, the real difference in the game was the visiting team's impressive display of organization and team play. Unlike Parker (20 points on 6/21 shooting), who continually found himself alone with a basketball and four immobile teammates, Batum was merely the best part of a dynamic scoring machine (Pape Amagou was also impressive, putting up 20 points in just 25 minutes including 3/5 shooting from behind the arc).
20Minutes.FR dubbed that game "Star Wars" and has a nice picture of Batum and Turiaf.
Clare Goodley on Bettor.com with a rundown of Batum's performance in a recent loss to Fenerbahce...
Nicolas Batum also posted a strong all-around game with 22 points, six assists, six rebounds and four steals; Adrien Moerman recorded a double-double with a game-high 15 rebounds and 11 points while Jamal Shuler had 13 points on 2 for 2 shooting from three-point range.
Fenerbahce shot 68.2 percent (28 for 41) from two-point range while Nancy shot just 50 percent (28 for 56). SLUC stunned Ulker in the beginning with Batum stepping up for a 5-0 start.
Here's the translated AFP recap.
Nancy, with a fire attack and a duo Nicolas Batum / Akin Akingbala monumental, managed the feat of beating the big Vitoria from 90 to 85 (halftime: 49-47) Thursday at the 4th day of Euroleague Basketball.
This success gained with the way Nancy up to fourth place in Group A and allows more than ever to dream of the Top 16. The champions of France also sent a message to all their opponents: it will be very hard to win their next floor.
Here's a game recap from Euroleague.net.
SLUC Nancy picked up its second victory of the season and handed Caja Laboral its first loss with a 90-85 decision in a thrilling back-and-forth Group A encounter. Akin Akingbala scored 26 points to lead Nancy in scoring while Nicolas Batum collected 21 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists as Nancy improved to 2-2.
The margin was back to nine points less than two minutes later after two jumpers by Moerman and two Batum free throws to make it 82-73. A Laboral timeout did not help as Batum hit a driving layup for the biggest lead - 84-73 with less than three minutes to play. Ribas converted a break-away layup to stop an 8-0 run and then Ribas hit a jumper to pull back within 84-77. Teletovic would not let his team die and nailed a triple to make it a two-possession game, 86-80. After Batum made one of two free throws with 52 seconds left, Teletovic also made just one of two foul shots before Amagou put the nail in the coffin with a three-pointer from the left corner to make it 90-81 with 26 seconds left. Seraphin and San Emeterio hit to close the gap, but the game was already decided.
Here's video highlights of the win over Caja Laboral via YouTube user Euroleague.
Thanks to Blazersedge French correspondent Bruno for the last two links.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter