Trail Blazers

Dame & CJ empower each other, which showed in win over Rockets

Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum: 

The duo that has the ultimate friendship and thus the ultimate combination on the floor.

With talk of James Harden expanding his teams that he’d be willing to be traded to over the past couple of days to include Portland, all eyes watched the McCollum and Harden battle on Saturday.

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It seemed pretty fitting that McCollum hit the go-ahead three-pointer with the assist from Lillard to help the Blazers secure a 128-126 victory Saturday.

McCollum had himself a night. 

Lillard dished to McCollum or McCollum dishes to Lillard – it can go either way in knocking down game winning buckets.

And here’s why:

Their relationship.

 

Just how close are they? McCollum described their friendship postgame similarly to the Warriors superstar duo. 

I think beside Steph [Curry] and Klay [Thompson], we're probably the only backcourt that not only gets along but also empowers the other. There's no competition.

Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum said postgame

So with fans, media, and probably even players speculating about the possibility of a trade between Portland and Houston with Harden for McCollum as part of the deal, the current Portland duo proved why they can be successful and then they discussed it postgame.

I think he would say the same -- the foundation of us being connected as a backcourt is our friendship and me wanting the best for him and he wanting the best for me.

Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard 

"I just think we have balance," Lillard added. "When he has it going, I don't just give him the ball and say, 'alright, you keep the ball right now cuz you're going,' I'm trying to contribute to it -- I'm making sure that I'm spacing. I'm making sure that I'm handling and calling plays that is going to get him a quality look."

It was Lillard who took, but missed the potential game winning three-pointer with 34.2 seconds remaining in regulation. 

But since McCollum had the hot hand, why not let CJ take it? 

After the win, McCollum discussed how no matter what he always wants Lillard to take the go-ahead shot.

“I just play my role. Dame's a great player. A Hall of Fame player, so I know I'll never be mad at him taking a shot down the stretch of the game," McCollum said.

McCollum finished with 44 points on the night after hitting a career-best nine threes.

Harden finished with 44 points and 17 assists. 

It was the ultimate shooting guards showdown. 

And even though Lillard praised Harden for his ability to still score 40-plus while both Derrick Jones Jr. and Robert Covington made it tough on him all night, it was McCollum who took up a lot of Lillard’s attention postgame.

Just as one would expect.