When Nicolas Batum peels himself out of bed Thursday morning, it will not come easy.
His legs will feel as heavy as bricks. His joints will ache and his muscles will howl. He certainly won't sprint to the bathroom to brush his teeth.
Batum is in the middle of his best NBA season and he's been entrusted with more responsibility than ever. The byproduct is that he's playing more minutes than ever — the third-most in the NBA (39.0 per game) this season heading into Wednesday night's loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
And he's not alone.
The Trail Blazers feature three players ranked among the top 11 in minutes played this season: Batum, Damian Lillard (sixth, 38.5) and LaMarcus Aldridge (11th, 37.9). A fourth, Wesley Matthews, probably would be right there with his teammates if not for playing 14 minutes combined in two December games because of a left hip injury.
Blazers minutes continue to pile up for starters
Oregonian | Jan 17