Nicolas Batum Injured, Blazers Fall to Hawks: A Fan's Reaction

For some reason, the Portland Trail Blazers are a completely different team on the road than at the Rose Garden. On Wednesday night (Jan. 18), the team let another game get away against the Atlanta Hawks, in the process falling to just 2-5 on the road this season. It also pushed the team further down the Northwest division standings and into fourth place behind the Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets.

Atlanta is a pretty good team at 11-4 this year, but the Blazers should have been able to win this game. Losing 92-89 should not have happened and it is starting to look like the team can't hit clutch shots when it counts the most. I keep talking about this, but the shooting percentages coming from the guards just do not cut it, and again that was where most of the missed shots came from against the Hawks. The trio of Raymond Felton, Wesley Matthews and Jamal Crawford went just 13-for-44 in the game, dropping the shooting percentage for the team to just 3 percent on the night.

The worst part of the loss was that Nicolas Batum got injured in the first half when he got poked in the eye by Tracy McGrady. He left the game to go to a local hospital for examination during halftime, but will need to get looked at again in three days. Batum was seeing double out of that eye, so it is possible that he may miss a game or two just for the sake of being cautious. There isn't a prognosis from the trainers yet, but hopefully it is something that heals up quickly.

The Blazers bench just isn't the same without Batum, and that became clear when it fell upon the guards to put up too many shots (again) against the Hawks. Crawford led the team in scoring with 22 off the bench and LaMarcus Aldridge has 20 points and 10 rebounds on the night. It wasn't enough to overcome the tandem of Joe Johnson and Josh Smith and the Blazers fell in the only game these two teams will play against each other this season.

The Blazers get a day off before playing against the Toronto Raptors on Friday night (4 p.m. PT).

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*Ryan is a Northwest bred sports fan that has been a Portland Trail Blazers fan for years. He doesn't miss a game, and has high hopes that the Blazers can improve their roster during the offseason and come back even better in the 2011-12 NBA season.