Blazers win, McCollum returns

CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

CJ McCollum returned to the Blazers lineup after missing 15 games from a fractured left foot, which he sustained during the January 16 game versus Atlanta, Tuesday evening as Portland hosted the New Orleans Pelicans.

More on McCollum in a moment.

It was an ugly game from the start for the Blazers. The only time they really saw themselves lead was 9:17 to go in the first, and it was downhill from there. To make matters worse, a scare came via Robert Covington, who appeared to suffer another injury to his head. He would return after a timeout. Not all was bad in the game. Damian Lillard recorded his 16,000 career point in the first. Lillard’s milestone was for the most part the only good thing about this game, besides the return of McCollum.

Now on to CJ’s return….Wait! Timeout! Not so fast!! the game wasn’t quite over. After being down 117-100 with 5:42 to go, Portland would go on an impressive run to make things interesting, making it 117-113 with 2:30 to play. The Blazers were able to get the lead down to 117-116, before an Eric Bledsoe 3, ending Portland’s 16-0 run. Portland fouled Brandon Ingram down 124-121 with 6 seconds to go. Ingram missed both free throws, Lillard grabbed the rebound, fouled and the game now 124-123. New Orleans would turn the ball over on the possession, followed by a Portland timeout. Lillard with 1.2 seconds remaining was fouled and sent to the line, making both free throws giving the Blazers 125-124 lead and win. The Pelicans had a chance to win it at the end but did not capitalize. Lillard recorded another double-double, 50 points, 10 assists. Gary Trent Jr. 22 points, 10 assists.

“We just kept fighting, having pride, believing in one another, continue to go out there, do what everybody does,” Trent Jr. told Brooke Olzendam in her walkoff interview. “Everybody chipped in, in a big way, in a much needed win. We fought back hard.”

McCollum would get the start. It felt good, as it likely did to most fans, hearing Moda Center PA Mark Mason announce, “at guard, 6’3 from Lehigh, welcome back CJ McCollum!” CJ’s first shot attempt came at 11:06 and a shooting foul was called, free throws good. His first field goal made was a 3 with10:37 to go in the first. The shooting guard finished with 10 points, 4 rebounds in 26 minutes.

It is worth noting, Anfernee Simons did not play. Reasons not known.

CJ McCollum Portland Trail Blazers
CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /