The Trail Blazers’ five-game winning streak came to an end tonight with a 126-113 loss to the Houston Rockets. LaMarcus Aldridge led the way once again for the Blazers scoring 27 points and grabbing 20 rebounds while Damian Lillard scored 24 points for Portland.
CJ McCollum saw a little under 15 minutes in this game, first entering the game with 2:44 left in the first quarter. CJ’s first direct impact on the game would come with 57 seconds left as would miss a layup that would be tipped-in by LaMarcus Aldridge. On the next Blazers’ possession, CJ would nail his first basket: a 25-foot three-pointer. CJ would remain in the game to start the second quarter, but would not make a direct impact until he was subbed out for Damian Lillard at 9:26 mark. He would not return until the third quarter. CJ’s stats through the first half: 3 Points (1-2 from the field)
McCollum would re-enter the game with 2:31 left in the third quarter. About a minute in to returning, CJ would block a Jeremy Lin shot; his first career block. The block would force a jump-ball between McCollum and Lin, which led to a Damian Lillard three-point-play after CJ won the tip. CJ would commit two fouls as the third quarter came to a close and the fourth quarter began. At the 9:18 mark of the fourth quarter, CJ would corral a missed Houston shot, drive the ball from coast-to-coast, and hit his first basket of the second half on a layup. He would be substituted with 8:51 left in the game but would return to the game five minutes later as the Blazers subbed out all of their starters for their bench. CJ would quickly miss two jumpers from 19 and 22 feet out respectively but he’d nail a 17-foot jump-shot with 57 seconds left to bring his point total to seven. As the game wound down, CJ would fire the final of the game: a 25-foot three-point attempt that missed. CJ’s final stats: 14:40 minutes, 7 points, 1 rebound, 1 block, and 2 personal fouls.
The Blazers will quickly turn around and travel to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder tomorrow night. The winner of this game will take over sole possession of the Northwest Division. CJ will most likely be guarding Thabo Sefolosha or Jeremy Lamb as the average 26 and 22 minutes per game, respectively. Both players don’t score an astronomical amount of points for the Thunder as they average a combined 16.2 points per game. A big reason for this is scoring machine Kevin Durant, who has stepped up big time since Russell Westbrook re-injured his knee. This game will tip-off at 8pm tomorrow night.