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Nicolas Batum denies saying Derrick Rose can’t play defense

Feb 8, 2011, 3:16 PM EDT

Portland Trail Blazers v Denver Nuggets Getty Images

Talking to the media Thursday night after the Trail Blazers knocked off the Bulls, Portland’s Nicolas Batum said the game plan was to have Andre Miller go right at Derrick Rose because he can’t play defense — except now he says he didn’t say that at all.

A couple people reported last Monday night, including Joe Freeman of the Oregonian who had the full quote:

“We know that Derrick Rose is a good offensive player,” Batum said. “But you have to play defense, too. He can’t guard Dre. You gotta play defense. He can’t play defense, so that’s why we put Dre inside and try to attack him. He did a great job. Had 25 (points) and 11 (assists) tonight.”

Tuesday on twitter Batum denied it all:

I’m sorry for the D.Rose fans and bulls fans, but I never said that he can’t play defense, NEVER…trust me

We want to cut Batum some slack here — he’s French, English is not his native language. But he should realize that those things reporters stick in front of him during interviews are digital recorders. You can be sure there is an audio file of his actual statement somewhere.

By the way, if going at Rose was the strategy, it was a good one. Rose can still be exploited on defense by some point guards. And Andre Miller is apparently one of them.

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