CJ McCollum knows his knee is "not normal" right now

CJ McCollum knows his knee is "not normal" right now

The Portland Trail Blazers concluded a three-game road trip on Saturday night with a scary incident in San Antonio.  

Portland didn’t just lose to the Spurs on 108-103; the Blazers also lost CJ McCollum to what the Blazers are calling a left leg injury.

McCollum left the game with 7:08 in the third quarter after getting blocked by Spurs big man Jakob Poeltl and falling to ground awkwardly. 


The Trail Blazers starting shooting guard stayed on the ground in pain for a couple of minutes, holding his left knee, as the Blazer took a full timeout and the entire team stood around him. McCollum was helped off the court to the locker room and, as expected, did not return to the game.
After the final horn sounded, both the Blazers and Spurs showed their concern for McCollum.

“I feel bad for CJ McCollum – I hope he is okay. He is a great player and a great kid,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich told the media.   

As for Blazers head coach Terry Stotts, he was trying not to jump to any conclusions.

“X-Rays are negative. He’s gonna get an MRI. It’s a leg injury and we’ll see how it is,” Stotts told reporters after the game.

“Anytime a guy goes down, you’re worried. We’ll see what the tests show,” Stotts added.

McCollum did fly back with the team on Saturday night. He will undergo an MRI back in Portland on Sunday.

Stotts was able to talk with McCollum immediately after the game for a brief moment and Stotts let the media know, “obviously, he’s upset, disappointed, but, we’ll see what the tests show.”

 In the locker room, McCollum gave his own description of what happened on the play:

“I went up for a lay-up, a left-handed lay-up, and the big fella blocked it, I landed on my foot, kinda trapped my foot on the ground. I felt my knee kind of twist, some pain,” McCollum told reporters in the locker room postgame.

Besides the X-rays being negative and McCollum not hearing any type of popping sound when he went down, he admitted he does not have much more information than that.

One thing is certain in McCollum’s mind, though…

He did not break his foot again.

“I’ve broken my foot, so I know what that feels like, so it’s not my foot. It’s definitely around my knee, but I don’t know the extent of it, I don’t know if it’s lateral… I just know that it’s not normal,” McCollum said.

McCollum was still in pain and had some “discomfort in certain areas” in his left knee after getting the X-rays done and after the game concluded. He told reporters “it hurts,” and added:

“You never want to get hurt, not ever, especially at this point in the season.”

As you would expect, McCollum’s running mate, Damian Lillard, had a somber tone when talking about McCollum’s injury after the game.

“Once I saw him stay down, I knew that he was really hurt, that was my biggest concern- just seeing him stay down, because usually he would get up and try to play or get up and try to walk it off, but he was down, so… Hopefully he’ll be alright,” Lillard said. 

Lillard also told reporters, “I think first, you’re concerned about his health as a person, you know, beyond the game, you never want to see that happen and then he’s so big for our team that you just get concerned for that, too.”

Now as all of Rip City holds its breath, it’s time for the waiting game.

“We’ll see how the injury is and we’ll adjust after that. You know, I don’t want to make any assumptions until we know how CJ is,” Stotts said.

“Nothing, I can do about it, but rehab and see what they say,” McCollum added.

A source of optimism: Jusuf Nurkic one step closer to returning to NBA action

A source of optimism: Jusuf Nurkic one step closer to returning to NBA action

TUALATIN – Over the past few weeks, we have seen Jusuf Nurkic go through individual workouts, but it wasn’t until today when Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard shared the news that the Bosnian Beast was looking like himself in practice. 

Nurk practiced full speed, contact, up and down, seeing him out there – like being himself and not looking like he was struggling – seeing Zach out here right now, seeing how well Trev [Ariza] looked in practice – it just felt good. It was like… almost like a pick me up. I feel good about it. -- Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard on Jusuf Nurkc  

Nurkic suffered compound fractures to his left tibia and fibula on March 26th, 2019.

Until now, Nurkic has only been seen doing individual workouts. 

[RELATED: The ultimate Jusuf Nurkic rehabilitation highlight reel]

There is still no official word on his return to an NBA game, but this development is encouraging.

Now as Rip City awaits the Bosnian Beasts return, everyone is wondering will it be soon?

“I do” Lillard said of getting the sense that Nurkic is nearing his return.

Lillard added, “I’m not involved in the situation…. I’m not a doctor, I’m not inside his body, but he looked good to me.”

“I’ve seen him doing contact stuff, but he really looked good.”  

Caleb Swanigan, who is now back with the team after Saturday’s trade has now become official, has banged up against Nurkic at practice many times.

Swanigan gave his thoughts on how Nurk was looking out there today:

“Nurk’s Nurk, man. He’s got a great feel for the game. He plays well. There was a couple of times when he lost the ball…  Nurk looked good,” Swanigan said.

Nurkic wasn’t the only getting after it today.

Zach Collins went through an individual workout after practice.

Having both of the Trail Blazers big men looking more like themselves, is giving Lillard hope.

These developments are a welcomed sight in Rip City!

Dallas big man Dwight Powell ruptures right Achilles, Mavs play Blazers Thursday

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USA Today Images

Dallas big man Dwight Powell ruptures right Achilles, Mavs play Blazers Thursday

UPDATE (11:15am): 

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Dallas Mavericks center Dwight Powell is the latest NBA player to have suffered a non-contact Achilles injury.

The injury happened in the first quarter of Dallas’ 110-107 loss to the LA Clippers Tuesday night.

At this time, the team is not releasing the severity of the injury, but many are fearing the worst of torn right Achilles.

Powell will undergo an MRI exam Wednesday.

The Mavs next opponent will be the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night.

Portland has been dealing with its fair share of injuries, as well.

Trail Blazers starting small forward Rodney Hood underwent successful surgery to repair his ruptured left Achilles tendon back on December 11th. 

Blazers starting center Jusuf Nurkic, who is still rehabbing a left leg fracture, let Powell know he was thinking about him Tuesday night.  

An Achilles injury seems to be more and more common these days in the NBA.

Last summer, NBA.com put together a list of notable players around the league who had ruptured their Achilles. 

The list included:

Kevin Durant

DeMarcus Cousins

Kobe Bryant

Rudy Gay

Wesley Matthews

Chauncey Billups

Now, we will wait and see if Powell is adding to this list. The Mavs role player was averaging 9.4 points and 5.7 rebounds. 

Portland Mayor vows to make 'Damian Lillard Day' a reality

Portland Mayor vows to make 'Damian Lillard Day' a reality

Monday evening in front of a national television audience, Damian Lillard showed why he's among the best basketball players in the world.

The kid from Oakland scored a career-high 61 points against the Golden State Warriors, the highest total ever from a Portland Trail Blazer. 

Dame's performance impressed everyone: Social media, Evan Turner and even Portland Mayor, Ted Wheeler. 

The politician tweeted his announcement the morning following Lillard's stellar display of shooting. Given the impact and admiration Lillard has earned from Rip City, it was just a matter of time until he got a day dedicated in his honor. 

Some Blazers fans agreed with the mayor's call.

Next up, Damian Lillard and the Blazers will host the Dallas Mavericks at 7:00 p.m. at the Moda Center on Thursday.

Evan Turner thinks a street should be named after Damian Lillard

Evan Turner thinks a street should be named after Damian Lillard

To end the slate of nationally televised games for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Damian Lillard saved the best for last.

The franchise star scored a career-high and franchise-record 61 points against the Golden State Warriors to will Portland to an overtime victory.

The whole country took notice, as did Dame's former teammate Evan Turner.

I don't know about you, but a high school named after Lillard would immediately become the go-to school to attend in Portland. If that's too much, a street name is the least the city can do for Portland's most beloved son. 

Turner and Lillard were teammates from 2015-2019 until he was traded to Atlanta in exchange for Kent Bazemore this past offseason. 

Current and former teammates CJ McCollum and Meyers Leonard found Turner's tweet as funny as the rest of us.

What do you say Rip City?

The Blazers need Biggie, and Biggie needs the Blazers

The Blazers need Biggie, and Biggie needs the Blazers

On Tuesday morning the Trail Blazers officially announced their long-rumored trade with the Sacramento Kings

Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver are gone, while Trevor Ariza, Caleb Swanigan, and Wenyen Gabriel are on their way Portland.

The Blazers know what they are getting in Ariza: a solid veteran player that has made his entire career on the defensive side of the ball. Coach Stotts anticipates that Ariza will be the team's starting small forward, as many of us expected. 

But what about Gabriel and Swanigan? 

Let's start with Gabriel. He is a largely unknown commodity. In his first year in the league, after spending time in the G-League, Gabriel has played in just 11 games for the Kings. 

In those games, he has averaged 1.7 points, 0.9 rebounds, and 0.3 assists in 5.5 minutes per game.

He is another Moses Brown. A big body with potential, but still very raw and rough around the edges. Most likely, he will be an end-of-the-bench guy. 

That is the quick rundown on Gabriel. Now, what about Swanigan?

First, remember that Swanigan has been in Portland before and that stint didn't work out. 

He was drafted by the Blazers in 2017, failed to crack the rotation, and was later traded to the Kings in return for Skal Labissiere. 

Swanigan played 45 games for the Blazers, averaging 2.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game. Swanigan's stint in Sacramento was much the same. He failed to crack the rotation, playing in just 10 games while averaging 1.3. points, 1.9 rebounds, and 0.6 assists. 

To be fair to Swanigan, getting on the floor wasn't easy. He is a versatile player that can play power forward or center in small lineups, but he still had an uphill battle.

In Portland, he was buried behind the likes of Jusuf Nurkic, Al-Farouq Aminu, Noah Vonleh, Ed Davis, and Zach Collins.

In Sacramento, he was buried behind Dewayne Demon, Nemanja Bjelica. Richaun Holmes, Harry Giles, and Willie Cauley-Stein.

Getting on the floor wasn't easy. That's not the case in his second stop here in Portland. 

As we all know, injuries have ravaged the Blazers, especially in the frontcourt. 

The Blazers don't have Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, Skal Labissiere, or Pau Gasol available.  

In fact, the Blazers now only have four players available that are 6'9" or taller: Hassan Whiteside (7'0"), two-way player Moses Brown (7'2"), and the newly-acquired Gabriel and Swanigan who both stand at 6'9."

Quite simply, Swanigan is going to get on the floor out of necessity. 

If the team were fully healthy, Swanigan would once again find himself on the bottom looking up. This time, he gets to start near the top.

The Blazers have lived by a "next man up" mentality all season long, and this time they had to go outside of Portland to find that next man. 

If Swanigan hopes to turn it around, to resurrect his career, there is no better chance than what the Blazers are giving him. 

To use a football analogy -  The ball is on the one-yard-line and the team is choosing to hand the ball off to Swanigan. What he does from there is up to him. When someone gives you the ball, you run with it.

He either runs through the door of opportunity that has been opened, or he runs himself back out of town... hopefully it's the former. 

The Blazers need Biggie, and Biggie needs the Blazers. The chance for both of them to turn their season around starts on Thursday against the Mavericks. 

The Trail Blazers' schedule since Christmas Day has been exhausting

The Trail Blazers' schedule since Christmas Day has been exhausting

The Trail Blazers have two days off before they play again Thursday night at home against Dallas.

OK, so what?

Well, I'll tell you what. It's the first time Portland has had two days in a row without a game since Christmas Day, and that's ridiculous. This team has played every other day for 26 straight days -- except last weekend when it had to play back-to-back road games at Dallas and Oklahoma City. That's been 14 games in 26 days with very little recovery time in between games.

At best, it's been monotonous. At worst, it's been extremely exhausting.

And nine of those games were played on the road, including a killer five-game north-south swing through the east that featured games at New York, Washington, D,C., Miami, Toronto and Minneapolis.

And after that long trip, the Blazers returned home and had just one day off before playing again -- which is not normal NBA procedure. Usually, after a 10-day road trip, a team would get two days without a game before playing again.

It's no wonder that there was susceptibility to cold and flu -- even on charter planes, travel can wear your resistance down.

But just to show how crazy the schedule is, the Blazers now get two consecutive days off prior to each of their next three home games.

Go figure.

Trevor Ariza will "probably" start for Trail Blazers... as he should

Trevor Ariza will "probably" start for Trail Blazers... as he should

The Trail Blazers made their trade with the Kings official Tuesday morning, which means people like Terry Stotts can finally talk about it. 

Portland traded for Trevor Ariza and Wenyen Gabriel and forward/center Caleb Swanigan from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver and two second round draft picks. 

The biggest name included in the deal and the player that will have the most impact and production for the Blazers is Trevor Ariza. 

While the roles of Gabriel and Swanigan will be small, Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts has greater plans with the former NBA Champion small forward.

"Trevor Ariza will probably be our starting small forward," Terry Stotts said on NBC Sports Northwest's simulcast show of 620 Rip City Radio's Dan & Nigel in the Mornings. "He has great experience. He has been in his career a very good defender. He’s a good three point shooter, so he’ll be able to space. His experience will blend really well with the starters. He’s a good guy. I think he’ll be a great fit for us."

This shouldn't come as a surprise. With Rodney Hood sidelined for the season with a torn Achillies and the vacancy left by Kent Bazemore as the replacement starter, Ariza was the presumptive choice at SF. The Blazers don't have a more viable option other than Ariza starting at small forward.

Ariza (6-8, 215) has averaged 6.0 points (38.8% FG, 35.2% 3-PT, 77.8% FT), 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.09 steals and 24.7 minutes in 32 games for the Kings this season. A 15-year veteran and 2009 NBA Champion with the L.A. Lakers, Ariza, 34, holds career averages of 10.5 points (42.2% FG, 35.1% 3-PT, 72.9% FT), 4.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.49 steals in 1,043 games (710 starts) with New York, Orlando, the L.A. Lakers, Houston, New Orleans, Washington, Phoenix and Sacramento. Ariza was originally selected by the New York Knicks with the 43rd overall pick of the 2004 NBA Draft after playing one season at UCLA.

NBCS Kings Insider James Ham weighed in on the type of player the Trail Blazers are getting in Ariza:

“Ariza signed a two-year, $25 million deal in the offseason to provide veteran leadership and depth at the forward position. The final year is only guaranteed for $1.8 million, making him slightly more than an expiring contract for Portland. He was a calming influence on the Kings younger players, especially on the defensive end. He's not as mobile as he once was and his 3-point shot goes on the fritz at inopportune times, but he’s a solid player that can help replace some of the defense that the Blazers lost during the offseason with the departures of Moe Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu.” 

He will wear No. 8 for the Trail Blazers.

OFFICIAL: Trail Blazers acquire Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan from Sacramento

OFFICIAL: Trail Blazers acquire Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan from Sacramento

In a deal that is days in the making, the Portland Trail Blazers announced that they have officially acquired forwards Trevor Ariza and Wenyen Gabriel and forward/center Caleb Swanigan from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver and two second round draft picks. 

“We are pleased to add Trevor, Caleb and Wenyen to our roster,” said Olshey via a team release. “Trevor’s veteran experience and positional fit, Caleb’s familiarity with our organization and Wenyen’s potential will be strong mid-season additions to our team.

Ariza (6-8, 215) has averaged 6.0 points (38.8% FG, 35.2% 3-PT, 77.8% FT), 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.09 steals and 24.7 minutes in 32 games for the Kings this season. A 15-year veteran and 2009 NBA Champion with the L.A. Lakers, Ariza, 34, holds career averages of 10.5 points (42.2% FG, 35.1% 3-PT, 72.9% FT), 4.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.49 steals in 1,043 games (710 starts) with New York, Orlando, the L.A. Lakers, Houston, New Orleans, Washington, Phoenix and Sacramento. Ariza was originally selected by the New York Knicks with the 43rd overall pick of the 2004 NBA Draft after playing one season at UCLA. He will wear No. 8 for the Trail Blazers.

Gabriel (6-9, 220) has appeared in 11 games for the Kings this season, averaging 1.7 points (35.3% FG, 60.0% FT) and 0.9 rebounds. In seven games this season with the Stockton Kings of the NBA G League, Gabriel, 22, has averaged 19.3 points (50.1% FG, 39.0% 3-PT, 77.1% FT), 6.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.20 blocks. A second-year pro, Gabriel went undrafted in 2018 after two seasons at the University of Kentucky. He will wear No. 35 for the Trail Blazers.

In seven appearances with the Kings this season, Swanigan (6-9, 260) has averaged 0.7 points (50.0% FG, 50.0% FT) and 1.0 rebound. He has played in five games (two starts) this season with the Stockton Kings, averaging 8.6 points (50.0% FG, 72.7% FT), 10.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists. Originally selected by the Trail Blazers with the 26th overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, Swanigan, 22, holds career averages of 2.0 points (37.6% FG, 65.5% FT) and 2.3 rebounds in 55 games (three starts) with Sacramento and Portland. He will wear No. 50 for the Trail Blazers.

The deal was done, in part, to save the Trail Blazers $12.3M in luxury tax. 

The Trail Blazers acquired Bazemore from Atlanta on June 24, 2019. In 43 games (21 starts) with Portland this season, Bazemore averaged 7.9 points (34.7% FG, 32.7% 3-PT, 80.6% FT), 4.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.05 steals. His deal was set to expire at the end of the season.

Tolliver signed with Portland on July 3, 2019. He appeared In 33 games (nine starts) for the Trail Blazers this season, averaging 3.9 points (36.8% FG, 33.7% 3-PT, 68.4% FT), 3.3 rebounds and 0.9 assists. 

The Trail Blazers will likely have their new players in uniform Thursday vs. the Mavericks. 

 

Lillard's leadership guides the Blazers through trying season

Lillard's leadership guides the Blazers through trying season

Before he even ate lunch on Monday Damian Lillard knew it was going to be a special day.

“It wasn’t about the points, it was just the mentality,” Lillard said after breaking his own franchise record and scoring 61 points, including 11 three-pointers in an overtime win over the Golden State Warriors. “We walked through shootaround and did everything we needed to do. Even when I went home after shootaround it just one of those days. When I came here, I wasn’t coming here to lose this game and it was as simple as that.”

With a performance for the ages, Lillard dragged the Blazers to an overtime win with the type of night that garners well deserved superlatives and sends media members to Basketball-Reference to try to put an all-time game in perspective.

Lillard was locked in early and even if he had a notion that he was headed for a dominant night, he let his demeanor do the talking.

“I don’t come in the huddle and say, ‘We’re not losing today!’ It’s more like when the game starts they feel my vibe,” Lillard said. “They feel the energy to how I typically interact to how interact when it’s one of those nights. I think that’s the only way to explain it.”

When the face of the franchise scores 61 points, it’s natural to talk about leadership and tone setting, adding intangible traits to help capture the on court heroics. Certainly Lillard was the leader and tone setter on Monday, but importantly he also was on Saturday night in Oklahoma City and he still will be when the Blazers take the practice court on Wednesday morning. 

His leadership has been celebrated for seasons, singled out for helping his teams overachieve and getting the most out of his teammates. But perhaps no season has better encapsulated Lillard’s strengths as a leader than this one where the Blazers are injured and scuffling and but haven’t fractured or packed it in.

“He’s very consistent on the court and off the court,” Carmelo Anthony said. “Guys follow. That’s the case right now.”

OPEN HOUSE

Before he joined the Blazers, Anthony had heard the stories of Lillard as a leader and a winner. He was drawn to that early, but the way Lillard welcomed him in quickly and earnestly was eye opening. 

“He just opened his house up to me,” Anthony said. “This is his home. He opened it up to me. He made me feel wanted. He made me feel appreciated in here. When you have that and somebody opens their home up to you like that, that’s a special person.”

Lillard said he made a concerted effort to make sure Anthony was comfortable on the court when he first arrived. They talked about where Anthony wanted the ball and how that would look in their offense while maintaining a balance alongside Lillard and CJ McCollum. 
Beyond Xs and Os, Lillard has been inquisitive, probing Anthony for wisdom gleaned through 16-plus NBA seasons.

“We talk all the time,” Anthony said. “Basketball-wise just how to deal with certain things. How to deal with being the face of a franchise. Everything is on his shoulders. We talk about that. He asks a lot of questions. We discuss it, and he wants to know what that’s like and he wants to be better.”

That willingness and eagerness to listen and learn from a veteran with a shinier resume and more global cache impressed Anthony. It’s believable that Lillard commands a locker room full of his peers, and a roster dotted with first and second year players. But to welcome in a future Hall of Famer and make him feel comfortable while also leaning on him for feedback showed Lillard’s real strength. He has an innate gift for understanding how to reach people in different ways and an authenticity that makes those interactions feel natural.

A VETERAN EXAMPLE

Whether it’s 34-year-old Carmelo Anthony or 20-year-old Anfernee Simons, Lillard can forge a real connection. 

“I can come to him about anything,” Simons said. “Whenever I have problems with stuff he comes let’s me know ‘Just be who you are.’ I kinda carry that throughout my game no matter what happens.”

Lillard didn’t wait until Simons was a rotational mainstay to start offering guidance. Just months into Simons’ rookie season Lillard introduced him to Phil Beckner, Lillard’s trainer and former coach at Weber State.

Lillard wanted to show Simons how to work like a professional, which included training beyond a typical NBA practice. This season, with Simons getting real minutes for the first time, it isn’t uncommon for he and Lillard to come back to the Blazers practice facility at night on an off day and go through an hour-long workout with Beckner. 

One of the reasons the Blazers didn’t want to send Simons to the G League for extended stints last season is so he could be around Lillard, and see what All-Star level preparation looked liked.

“You see it first hand from him,” Simons said. “So you just kinda learn it as you’re watching. Even last year when he was playing a lot of minutes the night before he would come in the next day after practice and still get in his work. Just seeing that made me want to work harder because even though I wasn’t playing last year I thought to myself ‘He’s playing all these minutes (and still working) then I should be doing the same.”

CALM AND COOL

Perhaps no player on the Blazers roster has tested Lillard’s leadership abilities this season quite like Hassan Whiteside, Portland’s talented but flawed center.

The Blazers desperately need the best of Whiteside each night to have a chance, which is why Lillard has spent the season trying to coax consistent high-level play from Portland’s biggest offseason acquisition. There was a feeling out period particularly on offense as Lillard and Whiteside searched for better chemistry in pick and rolls. There have been obvious moments of frustration on both sides, but nothing that has escalated beyond a quick back and forth on the bench. 

Lillard had gotten the most out of a castoff big man before. But unlike Jusuf Nurkic, who was much younger and more impressionable when he arrived in Portland, Whiteside was 30 years old, a seven-year veteran with ingrained habits and preferences. So while Lillard will get on Whiteside for miscues here and there he understands where the lines are in their relationship.

“He’s just a calm guy regardless of whatever happened you know he never tries to show you up on the court,” Whiteside says. “He never tries to make his teammates look bad. He can easily turn the ball over and it can be someone else's fault -- and I’m not going to say no names -- but there’s guys around the league that will be like, “Ahhh man!” He don’t do that. He don’t try to show up nobody. He’s a great guy.”

It’s that balance and consistency which Lillard brings every day that Whiteside has come to appreciate.

Anthony, Simons and Whiteside are perfect examples of Lillard’s shapeshifting leadership abilities. But he does it across the roster, regularly sending texts to his teammates to check in on how they’re feeling and keeping them engaged. That’s not a new development by any means, it’s been a part of Lillard’s leadership approach for years, but during a trying season it has been particularly valuable.

The Blazers trust Lillard implicitly and explicitly. He picks his spots to speak up in the locker room, and when to duck out quietly. He knows what buttons to press and when he can lean on guys and when to give them space. 

Behind the scenes Lillard has been consistent with his messaging, preaching that the team has been in this position and rallied from a seemingly lost year to make the playoffs. He believes the Blazers will end up in the postseason, and hasn’t wavered from that even as the team has been struck by injuries and the losses have piled up.

So on Monday night when Lillard took over the game and carried the Blazers back from late deficits in the fourth quarter and again in overtime, the Blazers followed their leader. Not just because he was having an all-time great game but because he has laid the foundation all season long that they can place their trust in him.

“You show that belief in your actions, your body language, your attitude all the time,” Lillard said. “So it’s not like I was having a good game tonight so everybody believed because I believed. It’s like they know my disposition all the time. They know my attitude and personality all the time. So I think that’s the personality of our team. We always think we have a chance regardless or what our record is or anything like that, and that’s just who I am.”