cj mccollum

Blazers getting plenty of rest for next season

Portland's playoff run gives it momentum in the off-season
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Whenever the 2020-21 NBA season begins, the Portland Trail Blazers will likely have a key national commentator on their side - Charles Barkley.

Barkley famously predicted the Blazers, then likely the hottest team in the league heading into the playoffs, would sweep the league's top team, the Los Angeles Lakers, in their first-round match-up if they won the first game of the best-of-seven series, which they did.

The Lakers, however, spoiled that prediction by winning the next four games, thus ending the Blazers' season.

Portland, though, did reach the playoffs, and got more than three weeks of rest from when the deciding fifth game ended to when the NBA Finals will end.

The start of the 2020-21 season looms in either November or December, and Portland has a roster that appears capable of finishing in a variety of spots within the Western Conference, although topping the Lakers might be a stretch. The Blazers do, though, have one of the best players in the league - Damian Lillard - and that makes them a dangerous opponent for any team. The series with the Lakers showed off what the team needs to be dangerous for a series, not just a game.

As long as they have Lillard, though, they'll be attractive to television viewers and commenators, Barkley included.

 

McCollum dazzles Portland's diehard fans

Portland shooting guard sets franchise record in win over Chicago
Staff report

PORTLAND - Fans who got to the Moda Center late Wednesday night missed a performance for the ages by CJ McCollum.

Taking advantage of an unispired opponent, McCollum scored 28 points in the first quarter, setting a franchise record for points in a quarter by one player, as the Portland Trail Blazers beat Chicago 124-108.

McCollum, in his fifth year with the Blazers, finished with 50 points in the win on 18-of-25 shooting from the field, including six three-pointers.

The win moved Portland to 29-22 overall, good for sixth place in the Western Conference, a game behind Oklahoma City and 1.5 games behind Minnesota in the battle for the Northwest Division title.

Portland plays at Toronto, the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, Friday.

Chicago dropped to 18-33.

With McCollum scoring from the opening minute, the Blazers led 43-19 after one quarter and cruised to their eighth straight win at home. McCollum, who hit four three-pointers in the first quarter, sat out the fourth quarter and finished just nine points short of the team scoring record held by Damian Lillard.

Lillard finished with 13 points and seven assists.

 

Damian could easily be whining

Lillard gets All-Star Game flack from potential teammate
Staff Report

In the wake of Russell Westbrook's whining, complaining comments about teammate Paul George being, at least, temporarily left out of the All-Star Game, it's not hard to wonder ... how come Damian Lillard isn't whining about someone else not being left off the big roster that's going to be separated into two, basically playground teams.

That's how far the All-Star Game has devolved to get people to pay attention. There's now two captains who pick teams based on a draft system.

They should hold the draft on game day - make it like the captains used to do when they were younger. That would get some attention at the start of the game. Then, make them trade a couple guys at halftime. Like the playground days.

Instead of whining like Russell, Damian took the high road Wednesday in talking to media:

"I respect Russ a lot, so it was kind of disappointing to see him say that," Lillard said prior to Wednesday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. "Because he's played against me, he's played against our team, he knows what I've accomplished. Not just this year, but over my career. So it was a little bit disappointing, but I know that I earned my spot this year. And that's pretty much what it is: I earned my spot."

What are the odds Westbrook and Lillard end up on the same team?

Pro sports has always been about, heck being in the public eye, has always been about getting headlines, and that means shooting your mouth off on a regular basis.

Westbrook could have gotten some of the same headlines by saying people might say Damian is having a great season, and he's been overlooked the past couple years (and he has), but Paul George is having a great season and deverses a spot as well. So if Damian pulls a muscle and needs to sit out, or anyone else does, then Paul George should be the first call. Otherwise, he'll probably be at home toasting those of us who are still working while he's got a weekend off.

 

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