The Portland Trail Blazers lost to the Chicago Bulls (78-80) in the final preliminary game of Las Vegas Summer League. According to the new seeding system, they gained 2 valuable points for their placement in the Summer League tournament by outscoring the Bulls in quarters 3 and 4. It was a comeback, by all accounts, that was barely not meant to be.
Despite the loss, Portland looked very good tonight. Specifically, CJ McCollum and Thomas Robinson. McCollum scored a game high 27 points, including a deep three to force overtime, and Robinson grabbed an unprecedented 18 rebounds, all in regulation. Robinson finished with a double-double, as did Victor Claver, whose performance was sullied by a last second hesitation that may have cost Portland the game.
The 2nd half turned into a battle of the point guards, between Marquis Teague and CJ McCollum. It became clear that McCollum was the go-to shooter as the game wore on, and he drew the double-team once again. This time, however, he avoided it with lightning quick catch-and-shoot attempts that either drained through the net or got him to the free throw line (sometimes both).
As for Robinson, it was great to see him wrestle some rebounds from teammate, Meyers Leonard. While I can’t say I was pleased to see Leonard losing out to a much shorter player, it spoke volumes for Robinson’s aggressive play style. Leonard finished the game with only 3 boards.
The Blazers finally got their act together, just in time for the tournament. 22 teams are competing, and while we will have to wait for tonight’s games to finish for the bracket to be set, you can bet on a low seed for Portland. They have their work cut out for them, but they look stronger than ever. Do not be fooled by their 0-3 Summer League record; Portland has come to play.
CJ McCollum – 27 points, 6 rebounds
Thomas Robinson – 12 points, 18 rebounds
Victor Claver – 10 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists
Meyers Leonard – 12 points