The Trail Blazers' first road victory of the season will be remembered as the night James Harden was finally slowed, the night Damian Lillard confirmed he has ice in his veins, the night Wesley Matthews reinforced his warrior reputation.

But it also might just be the night that defines the rest of the season -- and perhaps a career -- for Nicolas Batum.

One game after his disappearing act in a loss to Oklahoma City, Batum reappeared in emphatic fashion, using a memorable third-quarter to energize the Blazers and help propel them to a 95-85 overtime win over the Houston Rockets in front of 18,140 at the Toyota Center.

"He was big time," Matthews said of Batum. "We don't win this game without Nic."

On Saturday morning, after the Blazers' team meeting at their Houston hotel, coach Terry Stotts asked Batum to hang back for a one-on-one chat as the rest of his teammates shuffled to their rooms. The previous night against the Thunder, Stotts had watched the Blazers' $44 million man make just 1 of 11 shots and finish with a final line of three points, two assists and one rebound.

Stotts couldn't care less about the scoring. The best of the best have off nights. But he was irked that Batum allowed his cold shooting to affect everything else, that he essentially checked out once his offense betrayed him. Batum could still block shots. He could force steals. He could create scoring opportunities for his teammates.