Victor Claver had just elevated among a crowd of white shirts and grabbed his 10th rebound of the night. The Trail Blazers led Boston by six points in the fourth quarter and thanks to Claver closing the defensive possession, Portland had a chance to build the advantage. That was when the Celtics play-by-play guy announced on the broadcast: "Wow, the ball is just finding Claver out there."
Not exactly true.
During that game, Claver collected the most rebounds by any member of the bench this year, as well as his NBA career-best total, by playing with the instincts that all good ball hawks must possess. When he saw the shot go up, sometimes Claver searched for a body to box out and other times he outplayed his man — whether it was forward Jeff Green or center Kevin Garnett — to the bounce.
His best play happened early in the fourth quarter when Eric Maynor launched a three, and instead of staying put on the perimeter, Claver attacked the rim and beat Green to the ball. After grabbing his first and only offensive rebound of the night, Claver scooped in a layup over Garnett.
Claver played most of the fourth quarter as the "stretch four" with LaMarcus Aldridge at the center position and with this smaller lineup, the Blazers needed rebounding from someone.
So, Claver found the ball.
The reliable long arm of Nicolas Batum.
On Wednesday, the Denver Nuggets scored 72 points in the paint, 30 more than the Blazers, but it could have been worse.
Batum chased down and swatted away two attempts from speedy point guard Ty Lawson, and even smacked down a layup from Kenneth Faried.Although the Blazers give up a lot of points in transition, when Batum is on the floor, he's always a threat to sprint back and go hunting for a block at the rim.
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The appreciative 20,390 fans inside the Rose Garden on Saturday night.
When the Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves entered the game's first timeout, announcer Mark Mason read from his usual script and as he wrapped up, the house went into a spontaneous cheer as the jumbotron showed Brandon Roy near the Timberwolves bench. Roy waved and held up a fist while the standing ovation lasted for well over half a minute.
Can Damian Lillard get a better-looking bobblehead? When Lillard saw an image of the new collector's item, his first reaction was that of puzzlement.
"Who's that?" Lillard asked.
When told that the smiling, mustached caricature was indeed him, Lillard — whose peach fuzz is not as thick as the one on the toy — exclaimed "That's tight!" Anyone would be happy to see that they've attained bobblehead status, and fans can purchase the figure at Wells Fargo locations.
Still, we've got to wonder if the makers of the bobblehead confused Lillard with Wesley Matthews?
"That don't look like me at all," Lillard said.