Tuesday, 18 June, 2019

McCollum, chemistry see Blazers through Game 7 gauntlet

CJ Mc Collum and teammates CJ Mc Collum and teammates , The Canadian Press
Shannon Reynolds | 21 May, 2019, 12:10

CJ McCollum went off in Game 7 of the Portland Trail Blazers match against the Denver Nuggets. Portland had outscored Denver 70-46 in between their lowest point and largest lead.

Jokic had four triple-doubles, including 33 points, 18 bounce back and 14 assists a four-overtime misfortune in Game 3 that saw the huge man play 65 minutes, the most playoff minutes in the shot clock era.

Nikola Jokic had 29 points and 13 boards for the losing squad, with Jamal Murray and Gary Harris posting 17 and 15 points, respectively.

Next up for Portland (3) is a road trip to the Oracle Arena where they face Golden State Warriors (1) in game one of the seven game series.

After McCollum hit the game-winning shot, James took the opportunity to criticize those who have been relying on analytics to comment on how basketball games should be played. He is shooting 57.9 percent on 3-pointers.

"Those are the plays that get teams going, coming off a turnover and they get an easy one", he said. Rodney Hood was also key, putting up 24 points off the bench on 8 of 12 shooting. The Trail Blazers had not answer for him.

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"I thought I was aggressive", McCollum said. Dame has been telling me since Game 3: "'We gonna win in 7.' And he was right". The public betting for the contest has 58 percent going on the Nuggets as the home favorite.

The Nuggets raced to a 39-22 lead and Game 7 was beginning to look a lot like Game 5, when Denver blew out Portland by 26 points in this building.

"It was a tough game, we had our chances", Jokic said. "He was upset because he thinks he didn't do enough for us to win tonight".

As rewarding as it was to see his guys manage the pressure of Sunday's game - the same pressure that chewed up the young and higher-seeded Nuggets during their second-half meltdown - the Blazers realize the challenge that awaits in the two-time defending champs.

Rodney Hood, whom Nuggets coach Michael Malone said he was most anxious about heading into Game 7, injured his left knee in the third quarter and left the game. Lillard and McCollum have combined to score 51.9 points per game this series, but haven't shot the ball particularly well.

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