As I wrote in the Hockey Roundup I did earlier today, the series of storms in the Philadelphia Area left me without power so I have not been able to post since last Tuesday. During that period of time, the Portland Trail Blazers played three games: a 94-90 win over the Knicks last Wednesday, a 118-113 loss in Indiana last Friday, and a 117-110 win in Minnesota last Saturday.
CJ McCollum did not play last Wednesday against the Knicks, the reason was listed as a Coach’s Decision. My thought is that Terry Stotts saw that CJ went scoreless in two of his last three games and decided to give a rest to recharge. And CJ did just that. His stats in the Blazers’ next two games:
Friday @ Pacers: 12:03 minutes, 9 Points (4-4 FG, 1-1 3Pt), 1 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 TO, 2 PF, +13
Saturday @ Timberwolves: 28:07 minutes, 19 Points (6-12 FG, 3-6 3Pt, 4-6 FT), 3 Reb, 3 Ast, 4 TO, 2 Stl, 3 PF, +9
Aside from the 2 steals and 3 personal fouls, all of those statistics are career highs. Part of this is due to Mo Williams being inactive due to family reasons, no word on if he will be in the lineup tonight yet, but CJ is playing a lot better. No signs of injury which you’d expect after 20 professional games but nowadays in the NBA we’ve seen players re-injure themselves almost immediately after returning. The Blazers are very excited for this as they should be. They have two great options to come off the bench at guard and if CJ can continue to score like in these two games, it only strengthens the #1 scoring offense in the NBA.
Tonight, the Blazers faceoff with division foe Oklahoma City in Portland. The Blazers have won the first two matchups but lost the most recent meeting 105-97, a game in which Kevin Durant scored 46 points. CJ scored five points in about 13 minutes of play in that game. Regardless of how much and how well CJ plays tonight, if you can this game, do it. It’ll be at 10 on NBATV for everyone to see. KD has averaged 38.7 points in the three prior games against the Blazers.