Earlier this afternoon, the Portland Trail Blazers traveled north of the border to take on the Toronto Raptors in an early Sunday matinee.
With the game not on national TV, and tipping off at the same time as NFL games across the country got going, it probably slipped under the radar of many casual fans.
But Nicolas Batum did his best to make sure people knew the game was going on. Late in the third quarter, he controlled the ball out on the left wing, waiting for LaMarcus Aldridge to come over an set a screen. When Aldridge arrived, Batum denied the screen, instead jab-stepping and driving hard to his left. As he made his way towards the basket, he found Jonas Valanciunas – the Raptors’ mountain of a man – waiting for him in the paint.
Batum was not discouraged, however, and went straight at the big Lithuanian. He took off from the left block, rising up and over the outstretched arm of Valanciunas before cramming the ball home.
It was an impressive dunk, and a picture from this moment will make for a nice poster for Batum’s living room.
But good on Valanciunas for making a play and trying to stop Batum, even though the worst case – which ended up happening – could be embarrassing.