CJ is king in record setting night

CJ is king in record setting night

It as a Trail Blazers team record tonight in the first quarter as CJ McCollum put up 28 points ALL BY HIMSELF. The rest of his first quarter box score looked as follows: 11-14 shooting, 4-5 from three, 2-2 from the FT line 4 boards. McCollum finished the game with 50 points in the Trail Blazers blowout win over the Chicago Bulls.

Box Score: Portland 124, Chicago 108

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Damian Lillard does it all at 2019 NBA All-Star Game festivities

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Damian Lillard does it all at 2019 NBA All-Star Game festivities

The NBA All-Star game isn't until Sunday evening, but Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has already had quite the schedule in Charlotte. 

From a friendly half court shooting contest with NBA All-Star Captain LeBron James to spending time with Special Olympics athletes at the NBA Cares Special Olympics United Basketball Game, let's take a look at what your Blazers All-Star has been up to. 

Damian Lillard began All-Star Weekend with a run in with the one and only, J.Cole, who will headline the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday. Dame D.O.L.L.A. has been a fan of the rapper since 2008, and has even hinted at a possible collaboration with him in the future. Lillard also served on a panel at the annual Technology Summit to share his perspective on the tech industry and pop culture. 

Up next on the Blazers All-Star's agenda: Lots and lots of one-on-one time with the media. Lillard took the podium on Saturday to talk about why he thinks Portland would be the perfect city for a future All-Star Game, how he's able to have an impact on others through social media and what players' characteristics he wouldn't mind incorporating into his own game. He also chatted with Raptors forward Danny Green, who called dibs on the Portland guard's next album. 

Lillard was chosen as a coach for the 8th Annual NBA Cares Special Olympics United Basketball Game, where he had the opportunity to spend time with 12 Special Olympics athletes from around the world. He shared some photos from the game that kicked off a week of All-Star festivities. 

Team LeBron spent some time practicing ahead of the 2019 NBA All-Star Game. In a post on Twitter, the NBA's official account caught an exchange between Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Lillard. The two players traded half court baskets and man, wouldn't it be amazing to see a LeBron-Lillard shootout in real life. 

Lillard competed in the MTN Dew Three-Point Contest and despite missing many of his shots early on, he came in clutch in his final two racks and hit a buzzer-beater to reach 17 points. He did not advance to the next round. 

Next up on Damian Lillard's list: Taking the floor for #TeamLeBron in the NBA All-Star Game, and hopefully exchanging jersey's with former teammate, LaMarcus Aldridge. Tip off for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game is set for 5:00 p.m. 

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the NBA 3-Point Contest

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Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the NBA 3-Point Contest

Damian Lillard and Seth Curry represented Portland in the NBA 3-Point Contest during All-Star Weekend on Saturday.

While Seth was focused on beating the "other Curry" from behind the arc in his hometown of Charlotte, Lillard, who competed in the competition in 2014, just wanted to beat his Trail Blazers teammate. 

Seth Curry made his 3-Point Contest debut, coming into the competition shooting 46.5 percent from the arc in Portland. Lillard was named an All-Star for the fourth time and is knocking down 2.8 three-pointers per game and 37.1 percent from downtown.

Here's a few quick takeaways from the 3-Point Contest:

Seth vs. Steph didn't exactly live up to the hype: Heading into All-Star Weekend, the talk around the NBA was a Curry brothers shootout. While Seth came in with the league's highest 3-point percentage and even got an endorsement from father Dell Curry in advance of the competition, little bro just couldn't hang in the 3-Point Contest. Seth got going late, knocking down nearly all of the balls in his fifth rack, but only scored 16 points in the first round and did not advance. Meanwhile, Steph Curry cleared the money ball rack to close for 27 points in the first round, the most of all scorers, and advanced to the second round. He ended up making it to the finals, but lost to Nets small forward Joe Harris. 

Prior to the game, Steph told the media that the two brothers had a friendly wager: whoever loses has to buy the Curry family tickets whenever the two play against each other for the rest of their career. Darren Rovell of The Action Network says it could cost Seth as much as $195,000. Bad news for Seth: it's time to pay up. 

Dame can't get out of the first round: Lillard's second attempt at the 3-Point Contest probably didn't go as planned. The Blazers All-Star, who previously scored 18 points in the 3-point shootout in 2014, scored one basket less in his second appearance. He finished with 17 points, one of which was an insane buzzer beater (but did you really expect anything less?) and failed to advance to the second round. 

NBCS Northwest Blazers reporter Jamie Hudson made a good point though: The racks needed to be back a little further. 

Joe Harris won it all: Wait--who? My favorite moment of the 3-Point Contest was NBA Twitter asking who Joe Harris was. Harris, a guard for the Brooklyn Nets, dominated the 3-Point challenge on Saturday night, and now everyone knows who he is. In the first round, he scored 25 points, making his last eight shots and making all five of his money rack shots. In the championship round, he faced off against Curry and upped his scored to 26 with a perfect money ball rack to close out the round. 

Keeping up with the Currys: An All-Star affair

Keeping up with the Currys: An All-Star affair

The royal family is taking over 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend.

Seth Curry and his brother Stephen Curry will be making a return to their hometown of Charlotte this weekend to participate in the NBA 3-Point Contest, making it a celebration of sorts for the Curry family.

Seth, who currently leads the NBA in 3-point percentage, will make his first appearance to the marquee event, while Stephen, a two-time MVP and three-time NBA champion, was named an All-Star this season for the sixth-consecutive year. Their father, Dell Curry, currently serves as an analyst for the Hornets broadcast team and is a two-time 3-point shooting contest participant himself.

While all eyes will be on the Curry brothers this weekend, NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh took notice of a more fascinating trend occurring right now: A wave of second-generation NBA players sweeping the league.

This season alone, there are 27 sons of NBA players, which include Steph and Seth, Klay Thompson, Devin Booker, Andrew Wiggins, among others. This familial phenomenon may seem obvious, but Haberstroh says the latest boom is extraordinary.

Read the latest story from Habertstroh here….

Three-point shootout odds -- Who are you putting your money on?

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NBC Sports Northwest

Three-point shootout odds -- Who are you putting your money on?

The NBA Three-Point Contest format looks a little different this year:

Each player will have 60 seconds to shoot a total of 25 balls (five racks of five balls). Four of the racks have four balls worth one point and the fifth ball is the “money ball” worth two points. The fifth and final rack will be entirely money balls.

The three-best scores from Round 1 will make it to the Championship Round and shoot in order from the lowest score to the highest score of Round 1.

According to FanDuel, these are the money-line odds to win the contest:

-Warriors PG Stephen Curry (+300)

-Suns SG Devin Booker (+400)

-Nets SG/SF Joe Harris (+450)

-Kings SG Buddy Hield (+500)

-Blazers PG/SG Seth Curry (+600)

-Blazers PG Damian Lillard (+800)

Obviously, the Currys battling it out is a fun storyline in itself, but then you add in two Blazers competing against each other, and it makes for a very entertaining three-point contest.  

So, if you’re a Blazers fan and looking to get a bigger return on your investment, go with the two underdogs of Seth and Lillard.

And keep in mind; it was in 2014 that Lillard participated in two NBA All-Star Saturday Night events.

Lillard teamed with Utah's Trey Burke to win the Skills Contest.

He then scored 18 points in the first round of the Three-Point Contest, but was unable to make the Finals. Marco Belinelli scored 19 to advance, and eventually won the shootout over Bradley Beal.

Since the Trail Blazers All-Star point guard already has a Three-Point Contest under his belt and has a little extra motivation going up against the Curry brothers, I think everyone might want to watch out for the underdog, Dame Dolla.

“I’m shooting against the Currys in they hometown... I’m going to win, I’m in there to win,” Lillard said last week after Blazers practice.

To be honest, Lillard should ask the All-Star committee if he can move the ball racks back another three feet or so and then we all know “Logo Lillard” is winning the contest for sure.

Either way, my money is on Lillard and Seth making it to the Championship Round, because that’s a whole lot of money and a whole lot of Rip City – there’s nothing better than that.  

Blazers Outsiders: Kanter will fit in just fine

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USA TODAY

Blazers Outsiders: Kanter will fit in just fine

The Blazers made a splash on the waiver market on Wednesday when they signed former New York Knicks center Enes Kanter to fill the team's final open roster spot. 

Kanter has long been on the Blazers radar, dating back to the summer on 2015 when he signed a four-year, $70 million offer sheet with Portland. Kanter was a restricted free agent at the time and Oklahoma City would match the offer to retain his services. Flash forward to 2019 and Neil Olshey finally got his guy. 

Kanter was waived by the Knicks to help them clear cap space in preparation for a big summer free agent season. Portland was quick to pounce.

Where will Kanter fit in the rotation? Well, the answer is clear: He's the backup center. Coach Stotts has already stated this. Kanter playing that role will have a trickle down to the rest of the rotation. Kanter holds career averages of 11.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, and is having a solid season this year averaging 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds in just 25.6 minutes per game. In fact, his per 36 numbers are nearly identical to Portland's star center Jusuf Nurkic.

Nurkic per 36: 19.8 points, 13.4 rebound, 4.2 assists, 1.4 steals, 2.0 blocks

Kanter per 36: 19.6 point, 14.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.5 blocks

Nurkic has the slight edge in defensive stats, but otherwise they are right on par. The point is the Blazers just got a starting caliber center for pocket change. 

So how does Kanter impact the rotation? Jusuf Nurkic is averaging 27.3 minutes per game, leaving 20.7 minutes at the backup center spot. Coach Stotts has already said Kanter will be the backup center, meaning right off the bat Meyers Leonard and his 14.5 minutes per game are almost certainly gone. This is unfortunate Leonard. He has been having a solid year, but is now the third center on the depth chart. He could still see spot minutes if the Blazers need to stretch the floor, but he will most likely see the DNPs pile up. 

Zach Collins will also probably see his minutes decline. Collins has been playing 18.2 minutes per game, but has been playing both the power forward and center position. Most of his minutes will probably come at the four moving forward, which could be interesting. Stotts has shown he likes to go small and play Jake Layman at the four when Collins is at the five, but Kanter throws a wrench in that. You could see a pairing of both Layman and Kanter or Collins and Kanter, likely meaning Collins could see his minutes cut in half. 

Now, let's say Stotts decides to play Kanter at center and Collins at power forward. This means your likely lineup for the bench unit would be Evan Turner, Rodney Hood, Layman, Collins, and Kanter. This means Seth Curry could be the odd man out. He has already seen his minutes take a hit with Hood's acquisition, and Kanter could impact them even more. Of course, we all know Stotts loves his matchups, so there will be moments we see Curry, but like Leonard, it could be more situational.

Regardless of where Kanter gets his minutes from, he adds a few new wrinkles to the lineup that Stotts can play with. First of all, unlike Collins and Leonard, Kanter's offensive skill set is very similar to Nurkic's. This means Kanter can slide in with the starters if Nurkic is in foul trouble, or roll with the second unit, and the Blazers don't have to change up their offensive approach. This is a big plus for the team, especially when they get in a flow during the game. No need to reset and gear around a big that likes to stay above the arc. Instead, you can keep feeding the paint and rolling like one big unit.

Second, Kanter could also slide in at power forward if needed. Imagine if Stotts rolled out a lineup with Nurkic, Kanter, and slid Al-Farouq Aminu to small forward. Those three combine to average 28.6 rebounds per game, with 8.8 of those being offensive rebounds. To put that in perspective, as a team the Bulls and Grizzlies both average 8.2 offensive rebounds per game. With Nurkic and Kanter, the Blazers are also now the only team in the NBA with two players averaging 10 or more rebounds per game. Think about that for a second. Stotts could roll out a lineup that would just do damage on the glass.

Hood and Kanter may not be the big names Blazers fans wanted at the deadline, but a closer look shows they are great additions. Stotts now has a lot of options to run with, and for a coach that loves playing the matchup-vs-matchup chess game, it's a good place to be.

Where Kanter takes a majority of his minutes from is still up for debate, but we will get our first look when the  Blazers return to action on February 21st against the Brooklyn Nets. 

What can you expect from the Blazers after All-Star break?

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What can you expect from the Blazers after All-Star break?

The Portland Trail Blazers started their season 10-3. Rip City was riding high. Then a string of losses across November and December sent fans into a tailspin, cutting through an atmosphere of doubt. Who is this team, and where are they going? More importantly, who are they really?

The answer is somewhere in between. The Blazers head into the All-Star break with a record of 34-23, good enough for fourth place in the West ... and that feels about right.

As we look ahead to the second half of the NBA season, Blazers fans are wondering whether this team is good enough to push through last season’s playoff failure. The way things are shaping up for Portland right now, they would likely face stiff competition in the first round as a middle playoff seed. 

Before we get to all that, let's talk about the coming spring. The Blazers have a middling remaining strength of schedule (SOS) according to Tankathon.com, but 16 of Portland's final 25 games are on the road. How SOS is calculated varies, and road games are usually part of what’s factored, but that belies the fact that Portland isn’t that good on the road. The Moda Center is a true home court advantage, and it doesn't help the Blazers play seven straight games on the road when they return from All-Star Weekend on Feb. 21.

Now for the good stuff. Portland has both the 10th best point differential and offensive rating, and has earned those marks despite players like CJ McCollum and Maurice Harkless struggling for most of the season. The Blazers haven't felt as eye-popping to a lot of fans, but statistically they have been solid and it’s shown in their record. Most accurately, it slots them exactly where any reasonable person would put this team.

Pending injuries, thanks to the play of Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic (as well as Portland's impressive bench) I wouldn't slot them any lower than sixth place in the West. I also don't expect either of those guys to fall off in the regular season, and their continued good play could mean a strong close to the year and homecourt advantage in the playoffs for the Blazers.

So, about those playoffs.

Yes, Neil Olshey has added some depth to Portland’s bench in Rodney Hood and Enes Kanter. They are two excellent, low-risk players that bolster an already deep rotation for Portland. The bench has been the strength of this team all season long, and depending on what’s asked of them, both Hood and Kanter can be useful in the postseason.

The Blazers have a couple of questions that need answered before we can trust them, and it’ll take until the end of April until we get them. Nurkic has been an absolute beast, a surprising constant after inking a major deal this summer. But Nurkic has dropped off in the past, and being able to play the way he has come the postseason is still up in the air. 

I have some reservations about how Nurkic has played, particularly on offense as a passer. More often than not, Nurkic passes to a vertical cutter without consideration and without actually making a read, fitting the ball through a tiny window. Once an opposing coaching staff analyzes his game, it could spell trouble for the way the Blazers have run the offense through him this year. If teams can gameplan for Nurkic always going for the backcut bounce pass across the lane, it’ll make him easier to neutralize.

Portland could also run into some issues with its star guards. The pitch for Evan Turner a couple of seasons ago was as a release valve for McCollum and Lillard on offense. That never fully came true, especially when Portland failed to provide enough shooting on the wing in lieu of Turner’s own 3-point stroke. But it was at least something Portland could at least try in seasons past, and it’s not clear if that’s the case this year.

McCollum and Lillard are now tied to each other on the starting unit, which could mean that teams employ a similar strategy to the one used before Turner's arrival. We don't know yet because nobody has asked Terry Stotts about his playoff rotation — it would be presumptuous at this point — but it begs real consideration at this juncture. 

Teams have focused on those two players as a means to beat the Blazers in the postseason, and 2019 is unlikely to be different. Will Stotts alter his rotation to punish teams trying to blitz McCollum and Lillard? Or will he stay with a more platoon-style lineup?

It’s probable that Hood and even Jake Layman could play the biggest factor when it comes to Portland’s biggest playoff weakness. Hood is shooting 37 percent and Layman is shooting 36 percent from 3-point range. Both have the ability to play as the second wing on the floor with either star, which could spell success for the Blazers.

Portland’s last big playoff success came in 2016 when Harkless, then the wing 3-point shooter, stepped in and made shots off passes to the edges of the floor. The Blazers missed that last year. With Al-Farouq Aminu shooting well for average, but often streaky on a weekly basis, Hood and Layman could spell playoff success as role models for Portland. 

Does that mean this team is ready to win in the postseason? How the sweep at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans mentally affects the Blazers is the largest off-court factor. The fortitude of leadership and roster continuity might push you in one direction. Years or decades of being a Blazers fan might sway you in the other.

Quietly, this Trail Blazers team is shaping up to be one of the deepest Portland has seen since LaMarcus Aldridge’s final season in Multnomah County. The Blazers have become deeper, and for those of us who didn’t swing too far one way or the other with this squad, things are looking good. I wouldn’t bet on them, because I’m not that kind of guy, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Portland galvanized after integrating their new players and made some serious noise in the postseason.

Whether they’re deep enough to push themselves to the second round is what Olshey — and fans — are hoping for come spring.

Blazers changing roster headed for tough tests away from home

Blazers changing roster headed for tough tests away from home

Seth Curry left the Moda Center on Wednesday night headed for his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Curry will land Thursday and work his way through a half day of media obligations, getting a jumpstart on the rest of the league before the NBA descends on the city for All-Star Weekend.

Damian Lillard won’t be too far behind Curry, as they’re both set to participate in the three-point contest on Saturday night. Lillard gets to stick around to play in the All-Star Game on Sunday, too.

When the rest of the Blazers departed the arena on Wednesday evening, they weren’t planning for a long weekend of All-Star festivities in North Carolina, but they were preparing for an extended absence from the Pacific Northwest.

Anfernee Simons is headed home to Orlando, Jake Layman is spending a few days in Miami, Meyers Leonard is going to the Bahamas, while Evan Turner is traveling to New York with plans to check out a few art galleries and enjoy the city.

Zach Collins said he’s going to spend the weekend in Las Vegas, noting it would be his first time back in his hometown since he turned 21.

“I’m gonna see my kids,” Rodney Hood said, looking forward to reuniting with his wife, their three-year old son and nine-month old twins back in Cleveland. “Just relax a little bit.”

No matter which direction players scatter before they reconvene in Brooklyn next Tuesday, it’ll be a long time before they are all back inside the Moda Center. The Blazers (34-23) come out of the break right into a seven-game, 13-day road swing, giving them two full weeks away from home after All-Star weekend.

When the Blazers finally return to the Moda Center on March 7, they’ll look different, too. Enes Kanter should be seven games into his Blazers career then and set to make his home debut against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kanter is penciled in for regular minutes as the backup center, further crowding an already deep rotation. The numbers crunch will challenge players across the Blazers roster.

“I think guys will see that ‘Okay tonight I’m going to play a little bit more,’ or ‘Tonight I might play a little bit less,’” Lillard said, acknowledging that the Blazers haven’t dealt with a rotation this deep over the past four seasons. “But I don’t think we have anybody disruptive. But obviously if you not upset, you in the wrong game. You should be upset about not playing, but I don’t think anybody will be to the point where it will be a problem or a distraction for the team.”

The transition of adding Hood has already been a rotational challenge, and throwing Kanter into that mix only complicates Terry Stotts’ many options. The Blazers coach admitted that he might set the rotation by feel and rhythm in some games, much like he did Wednesday night when he played four reserves down the stretch in Portland’s win over Golden State.

The long post All-Star trip is daunting for the Blazers, who haven’t been a good road team all season, and the growing roster continues to present questions over who plays and when. But before the Blazers answer questions about the rotation or whether or not they can win games away from home, they’ll get a long weekend to relax, reconnect with family or get into a nationally televised shooting contest with their brother.

Blazer bench puts aside worries -- knocks out Warriors in 4th

Blazer bench puts aside worries -- knocks out Warriors in 4th

The Portland Trail Blazers’ crowded bench has had a lot to think about over the last 10 days. Two players have been added and neither is expected to be a starter, barring an injury.

There is uncertainty about the future.

But that group put aside worries about playing time and went out Wednesday night and earned playing time – by knocking out the Golden State Warriors with a 35-12 fourth quarter that led to a 129-107 win.

It marked the first time in 23 tries the Trail Blazers have won a game when trailing heading into the fourth quarter. And the second season in a row when Portland has captured two wins over the defending NBA champs.

But they had to fight to get this one. Almost literally. Golden State doesn’t go down easy.

But trailing by a point to begin the final period, Coach Terry Stotts sent out an all-bench group of Evan Turner, Rodney Hood, Jake Layman, Zach Collins and Seth Curry.

Each of them had their moment during the fourth-quarter surge that put the game away.

The biggest imprint was made by Zach Collins, who had a monster blocked shot that saw him race the length of the court to block a Damion Lee layup at the rim – a true momentum-changing play.

“I was looking at it from the bench and I didn’t even see Zach coming,” Damian Lillard said. “So for him to make that play and then back it up with another defensive play, instead of patting himself on the back, that was huge for him but that’s huge for our team.

“I think it kind of turned the game completely in our favor.”

The follow-up play Lillard was talking about was drawing an offensive foul from Klay Thompson just a few seconds later.

That led to a faceoff between Collins and Thompson at the other end of the court that finished with each getting called for a technical foul.

By then, the Blazers were off and running, with Layman entering into another of his rampages where he’s popping up all over the court. He had 12 points in the fourth quarter – was a plus-23 in the 12 minutes – while making five of six shots. All 17 of his points came in the second half.

He is on a terrific run and was asked after the game if his recent play surprised even himself.

“No,” he said. “I’ve always known I could play. I know what I can do.”

The game broke wide open when Draymond Green was called for a flagrant foul on Collins with 4:16 to play and Portland holding a seven-point lead.

That prompted two quick technical fouls on Warriors Coach Steve Kerr, who fired a clipboard in disgust, followed by his ejection.

Lillard made the two technical foul free throws, then another one when Green was hit for yet another technical.

Collins then stepped to the line and canned two more foul shots. A few seconds later, Layman knocked down a three-point field goal, followed by a three-pointer from Lillard that came from somewhere near the Lloyd Center and Portland had a 23-point lead.

Game over.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” said Kerr, whose team played without resting DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Igoudala and Shaun Livingston. “They battled like crazy, you know really tough schedule with the back-to-back. There’s three guys out and I thought our guys really fought. It’s one of the reasons I was really frustrated …”

Stotts was pleased, quite obviously, with what he saw.

“Really proud of our team,” he said. “Obviously, the guys that came off the bench really played well in the second  -- well, the first half and the second half.”

Stotts was asked about staying with his bench, other than insertion of Lillard for Turner, in the fourth quarter.

“It’s going to be a transition,” he said. “But we’ve got a lot of good players who are able to contribute to winning. Obviously, the bench guys played well.

“You know, with five or six minutes to go in the game, I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do to finish the game. But the guys on the floor answered it for me.”

Zach Collins 'single handedly' ignites Trail Blazers in win over Warriors

Zach Collins 'single handedly' ignites Trail Blazers in win over Warriors

High-scoring.

Chippy.

Entertaining.

And then, there was a block that changed it all.

The Trail Blazers and Warriors showdown did not disappoint on Wednesday night as the two teams went at each other figuratively, and then literally in the final quarter.

Portland came out victorious 129-107 to even up the season series at 2-2. 

The run down block made by Trail Blazers backup center Zach Collins was what the players called a “game changer” and it was obvious that block on Damion Lee with 7:35 remaining in the game was a big momentum swing for the Blazers.

“That play was big and then he made other effort plays, emotional plays that fired up the team and the crowd,” Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said postgame.

"I got blocked and I was running back down, I picked up head and the dude was going to the rim and I thought I could get there, so I just went up and gave it my best shot,” Collins said.

Less than four seconds later, the Blazers backup center drew an offensive foul after Klay Thompson went to the basket. Collins and Thompson exchanged words and there was a little shoving going on. Both were hit with offsetting technical fouls.

Damian Lillard knew how valuable both the block on Lee and taking the charge were in the Blazers getting the win.

“Both game-changing plays. I think the first thing you think about is a big shot or somebody getting dunked on or something like that as like an energy, game-changing play, but I think tonight those two plays is kind of what changed the game completely for us,” Lillard said.

Backup wing Evan Turner felt the same way about Collins’ performance as the Blazers’ second unit outscored the Warriors’ bench, 52-23

“He got a lot of extra possessions for us and he played tough. I think he single handedly changed the game,” Turner said.

Collins continued to get under the Warriors skin through the fourth quarter. Portland led 110-103 before Draymond Green was called for a Flagrant 1 on Collins with 3:54 left. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr stood up for Green and after yelling at the officials and throwing a clipboard, Kerr was ejected.

Lillard made the three technical shots and Collins made his free throws to give the Blazers a 115-103 lead.

Warriors All-Star Kevin Durant was asked about Collins’ performance after the game, to which KD simply replied with: “He played with a lot of energy. He played with a force, you know, blocking shots, the crowd got him hyped, so it is what it is.”

To KD, the crowd got Collins hyped. To Zach, he was getting the crowd hyped right before he was jarring with Thompson.

“I was just hyping up the crowd and then he came up to me, we just kind of went back and forth and that was it,” Collins said.

Coach Stotts said on Wednesday during his pregame interview that the newest edition to the roster, center Enes Kanter, will be the backup center for the Blazers and so with that it looks like Collins could be the odd man out.

But Collins isn’t letting that bother him.  

“I know what I bring to this team, so I’m gonna go out there regardless if I play two minutes or thirty minutes, I’m gonna go out there and play as hard as I can… Whatever happens with minutes happens. I’m excited that [Kanter] is a part of our team,” Collins said.

So no matter how much Collins sees the floor we can all look forward to more game changing hustle plays from the big man.