McCollum Pushes Portland To Playoffs
The Western Conference playoff bracket is now complete, with the Portland Trail Blazers claiming the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference after earning a grueling 126-122 win over the Memphis Grizzlies in Saturday's play-In round.
Throughout the eight seeding games, the Blazers went as far as superstar guard Damian Lillard took them. The All-Star point guard averaged 37.6 points in seeding play, and came up big once again against Memphis, posting 31 points and 9 assists.
But with the game on the line, for the first time in what feels like forever, the Blazers took the ball out of Lillard's hands on Saturday.
Lillard's backcourt mate CJ McCollum, operating on a partially fractured back, scored 14 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, making big shot after big shot to help put distance between his squad and the Grizzlies.
McCollum's performance comes one game after he scored 25 points against Brooklyn in a 134-133 victory for Portland on Thursday, a must-win game for the Blazers.
Despite his dominant performance, arguably McCollum's best highlight of the game came in his on-court postgame interview, in which he brought out his best Mike Tyson impression.
Apparently, he had to channel his inner-Tyson in playing through the small fracture in his lower back.
In the official postgame interview, McCollum talked about the support he feels from his teammates when his number is called in crunch time.
"When you prepare, you're extra confident. My team believes in me because they see the way I prepare and they see how I work.
"You gotta be a killer, no matter what the circumstances are. You gotta figure out how to eat and how to provide."
When asked how his injured back affected his jumper on Saturday, McCollum kept it short and sweet.
"I'm adjusting. I made 'em tonight."