Interview: Batum on Mavericks, defense, zone, shooting

Transcript of Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum’s interview with the media Wednesday at the team’s practice facility in Tualatin, Ore.

On comparing the current version of Dallas with the team Portland player earlier this season:

They’re much better. Butler and Brendan Haywood. So, they’ve got two great players. They’re much, much better than last time.

On who he is expecting to guard:

I’m going to start on Butler, (Jason) Terry, maybe Jason Kidd, and of course, Dirk (Nowitzki).

On how he will prepare for that many assignments:

Butler … can post up; he can do anything. Jason Terry can play one-on-one; every time he can (get a) shot. Dirk: that’s Dirk. You can’t describe it. Just Dirk Nowitzki. So, he’s got a great team. He’s got a great, great team.

On whether he embraces a multiple-player challenge:

No, no. No, because I know most every guy. I can match up; it’s not easy, but I know almost every guy.

On the research he will do to prepare for the game:

I just try to watch a lot of NBA games every time in my house. So, especially the big, big teams. And for the game I just watch … videos with (assistant coach) Monty (Williams). Just try to watch videos the day before.

On whether it is important for Portland’s offense to start hitting shots, but for the team’s defense to also lock down Dallas:

Yeah. You know, we’ve played pretty good defense (the last) five, six games. So, even Phoenix scored only 93 points. Just keep playing defense. Keep playing … and knocking down shots. Get the ball to Brandon (Roy); (LaMarcus Aldridge) and B-Roy and let them play. Playing defense. Just keep playing defense, because that’s going to win the game. And we win the game on defense first, especially in the playoffs.

On why the Blazers have had success against the Mavericks this season:

Yeah, we beat them twice. It starts with defense and we play together. I think the first time, when Joel (Przybilla) got hurt; I was hurt; Travis (Outlaw) was hurt. So, everybody was hurt. We stuck together. In the second game, I think, B-Roy — (Andre) Miller got 52 (points), but we stay together. Juwan (Howard) did a great job inside; L.A. did a great job, too. …

On what he is seeing when opponents run a late-game zone defense:

They’re very focused on B-Roy now. When he gets the ball, a multiple team. We have to creat movement, with me, (Marcus) Camby or Martell (Webster) on the court. We have to move … because they can’t do everything by themselves — L.A. and B-Roy. They’re good, but they can’t (win) by themselves. We have to help them. So, we just have to get movement and us to get open to score.

On whether coach Nate McMillan has talked to him about taking on a bigger role in the offense:

Maybe just to be ready to (shoot). The last game, I wasn’t ready. I just watched B-Roy play. Just stood straight up and wasn’t ready. So, they told me to be ready, take my shots and knock down my shots.

On getting good looks in the past two games but missing shots:

Yeah, yeah. That’s why I just worked with Monty for practice. Because the last two games, I’m 2 for 11 at 3(-pointers). … I’m just trying to get back to where I was.

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