Trail Blazers

CJ McCollum found his rhythm as Trail Blazers defeat Dallas Mavericks

Trail Blazers
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It was a high-scoring affair at Moda Center Friday night.

And a physical one.

Both the Trail Blazers and Mavericks showed off their efficiency from deep.

While many Trail Blazers took an elbow to the face.  

Between Damian Lillard’s side-step three-point bombs and CJ McCollum’s in rhythm threes, the Trail Blazers took a 37-33 first quarter lead.

But when the second quarter hit, it was the CJ McCollum show.

In big thanks to McCollum’s 16-first-half points in 13 minutes of work, Portland led 64-60 at halftime. It was Lillard though that led all scorers with 22 at the break.  

The Blazers struggled to slow down the offensive star power of Dallas, as both teams shot over 47 percent. But as the game went down to the wire, Portland snagged a 125-119 victory.

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The three-pointers were flying early and often.

Dallas picked up Lillard full court whenever given the chance and kept pressure on him all night. That gave way for other ball handlers to take more possessions with the primary duties.

Just as it looked like the Mavericks were going to take the momentum heading into the fourth quarter, Carmelo Anthony knocked down a three to beat the buzzer. Dallas held a 98-93 lead after three.

And just as he did in the second quarter, McCollum connected from three in the final period to help the Blazers retain the lead and keep it. 

The Blazers took a one-point lead after Carmelo Anthony finished on the fast break with just over four minutes remaining. Lillard and McCollum continued the scoring, while the Blazers also got timely stops.  

Jusuf Nurkic (right wrist fracture) and Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture) were the only two Blazers on the inactive list Friday.

For the Mavs, Willie Caluey-Stein (health and safety protocols), Dorian Finney-Smith (personal reasons), James Johnson (health and safety protocols) and Tyrell Terry (personal reasons) were out.

FINAL BOX SCORE: Trail Blazers 125, Mavs 119

The Good:  

It apparently took three games for CJ McCollum to completely find his rhythm again from midrange and from outside.

McCollum was dialed in from three, crafty on the midrange, and made sure to attack the rim when the lane was open. In his third game back from his fractured left midfoot, McCollum notched 32 points on 11-of-23 shooting, including 7-for-13 from deep.

Damian Lillard, despite the Mavericks blitzing him and picking up full court, continued to put up elite numbers finishing with 31 points and six assists.  

 

Portland started the game 8-of-12 from three, but the Blazers werent able to take a bigger lead in the first quarter because the Mavericks hit 7-of-11 from behind the arc. Robert Covington added three threes on the night including a late game-clincher. 

Off the bench, Rodney Hood provided a spark on the glass. Not only was he giving the Blazers extra possessions, he also took over as primary ball handler for a majority of the second quarter. He also gave the Blazers a scoring boost late. 

Kristaps Porzingis was not able to convert on mismatches. He went without a field goal in the first half. In the second half, he got into foul trouble and sat much of the third quarter. 

The Bad: 

After coming off Thursday nights win over the Pelicans in which Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts as well as Damian Lillard called it their best defensive performance, the defense against the Mavs was up and down.

Portland had a hard time containing Dallas with so many offensive weapons who found a rhythm early, especially from three.  

Luka Doncic, Maxi Kleber, Tim Hardaway Jr. --  all three knocked down long balls at a high clip Friday night.

Whenever it looked like the Blazers were about to go on a big run, Dallas answered. Doncic finished with 38 points and nine assists.

The Highlight:

CJ McCollum showed off his killer floater game to end the first quarter:

The Stat:  

 

Both teams were lighting it up from three. To finish the first half, the Blazers shot 50.0 percent, while the Mavericks shot 55.0 percent from long distance.

Next up: The Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks will wrap up their two-game series Sunday. The Blazers and Mavs are scheduled to tip-off at 7:00 p.m. PST on NBCSNW Sunday, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers.