The Blazers followed up their win Monday night vs. the Indiana Pacers with a 126-118 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night to improve to 2-0 on their four-game homestand.
It was also their second game without CJ McCollum, who is sidelined with a popliteus strain in his left knee. In McCollum’s absence, Damian Lillard continued to lead the charge in a variety of ways. Lillard finished with 33 points and 12 assists.
But, he wasn't alone in the Blazers efforts. Backup guard Seth Curry stepped up to help carry some of the load, too.
Curry scored 12 of his 20 points in the second half after going 8-of-16 from the field, and 4-of-7 from deep. Curry also pulled down five rebounds.
This was Curry’s third game of 20-plus points this season.
The best part about Curry's by committee performance?
Lillard feels this performance from Curry is nothing out of the ordinary for Curry’s skillset, or for the Trail Blazers’ offense.
“The way he got it, I think that it translates even when CJ comes back and we are at full strength. The things that he was doing, he will still be able to do. It wasn’t like he just went out there and got out of what we typically do, the role we typically have him in, he was just being himself,” Lillard said.
“The way he did it, I think it will work for us going forward, regardless of who’s out there, who’s not,’ Lillard added.
Curry echoed those sentiments, saying that as a team they were playing “similar offense, moving the ball, trying to find the best shots” as they would when McCollum is in the lineup.
Seth Curry... silky smooth from three pic.twitter.com/N8RLMqmRPO— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) March 21, 2019
The 28-year-old knew he had to be on the attack more, while playing some extra minutes with McCollum out.
“A little more opportunity, obviously, there’s a lot of shots missing with CJ not in the lineup, so other guys gotta step up and try to help where we can,” Curry said.
Since McCollum was sidelined last Saturday in the Blazers loss to the Spurs, Portland’s head coach Terry Stotts has preached that they need the entire team to contribute and it may be a different guy on any given night.
Coach Stotts was happy to see that Wednesday night was Curry’s night; at least until he got winded as the game drew on.
“I thought he was active,” Stott said. “I don’t know if he got a little tired in the fourth quarter, but I thought he got good looks. He was pretty close to having a really good night. I thought he had three or four really nice moves to the basket and wasn’t able to finish them, but again, with CJ out… It’s gonna be by committee... We need his shooting.”
So, was Curry getting a little gassed in the fourth?
“I was a little tired at the end, playing 16 minutes, or whatever, straight in the second half,” Curry said with a smile.
Curry had been with the Mavericks from 2016-2018 before signing a two-year deal with Portland in free agency last summer. It’s always fun to see a player do so well against his former team.
During Wednesday night’s game, Curry made it a point to look over at the Mavs bench a few times after scoring a bucket.
Does Curry enjoy taking it to his former teammates?
“Just a lot of guys I like over there, a few friends that I played with, obviously. So, it’s just all fun,” Curry said.
So, he wouldn’t admit that he gets hyped up a little bit more when the Blazers play the Mavs, but he might have admitted there could be some potential trash-talking going on.
“Nah, not much,” Curry laughed.
Okay, maybe not.
But one things for sure—
Curry was having fun.
“We’ve got a good team over here. Everybody’s doing their part, moving the ball, finding the open man tonight, so it’s fun to play when guys are moving the ball like that and everybody contributed tonight,” Curry told Trail Blazers sideline reporter Brooke Olzendam immediately after the game.
The ball movement is fun for the players and fun for the fans.
On to the next—Blazers host Detroit on Saturday.
Which role player will step up next?