Trail Blazers

Blazers hold off Hawks after losing CJ McCollum to a left foot sprain

Trail Blazers

The Trail Blazers had one day to prepare for the Atlanta Hawks following Thursday's blowout loss to the Pacers. 

That also meant they had one day to adjust to life without starting center Jusuf Nurkic with the 26-year-old seven-footer expected to be out for at least eight weeks with a fractured right wrist that will reportedly require surgery.  

The Hawks took advantage down low early.

Atlanta held a 38-34 first-quarter lead. After tying the game at 86 heading into the final period, Portland's role players stepped up down the stretch as the Blazers defeated the Hawks, 112-106.

It was Damian Lillard, though, who led the way with 36 points. He also sacrificed his body for the win in the final seconds and stepped it up on defense.

Trae Young was charged with an offensive foul with 14.5 seconds remaining on the game clock as he drove to the hoop looking to tie the game. But instead, Lillard took the charge and secured the victory while hitting his free throws in the final seconds. 

 

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The Blazers injury woes also continued Saturday. CJ McCollum suffered a left foot sprain early in the game, but continued to play through the pain until the end of the first half. He did not return to the game in the second half.

Whether it was cutting hard to the hoop, driving to the rim, a lob, or a back to the basket bucket, Atlanta was getting it done in the paint. The Hawks had 26 points in the paint by the eight-minute mark of the second quarter.

That continued throughout the game.   

Clint Capela was feasting down low to start the game with Enes Kanter guarding him or when Portland went small with Robert Covington and Carmelo Anthony at the four and five. Capela hit 6-of-7 for 13 points in his first 11 minutes of work.  

The Hawks took a 66-59 lead at the break.

FINAL BOX SCORE: Trail Blazers 112, Hawks 106

The Good: 

CJ McCollum continued his hot shooting before suffering a foot sprain.

With his first basket of the game, he passed Mychal Thompson for 9th on the Blazers all-time scoring list.

McCollum and Damian Lillard, along with Kanter were the only three Trail Blazers in double figures at the end of the first half. With McCollum out, Lillard made sure to keep the Blazers in the game. Carmelo Anthony also hit timely shots down the stretch to help the Blazers secure the victory. 

 

Gary Trent Jr. finished the game in place of McCollum and made a huge impact down the stretch with big-time threes. GTJ notched 18 points.  

The Bad: 

There’s still no word on the severity of McCollum’s sprained foot.

Per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, McCollum will undergo an MRI.

The Blazers also clearly missed Jusuf Nurkic, especially on the defensive end

John Collins and Clint Capela were powering up the Blazers all night in the paint. Kanter had a difficult time staying with Capela, while Collins and Carmelo Anthony were going at each other at both ends, with both wanting to play bully ball on the block.

Capela had an efficient offensive night as he also made sure to do the dirty work on the other end as well as clean up the glass.

Portland’s perimeter defense also had a hard time slowing down Trae Young. The Hawks point guard was coming off a game where he made just 1-of-11 against the Jazz to finish with four points.

It was quite the opposite for Young Saturday against the Blazers early on.

He finished with 26 points.

The Highlight: 

CJ McCollum passed Mychal Thompson to become No.9 on the Blazers all-time scoring list with his first bucket of the game, which happened to be a three from the wing after Kanter found him on the perimeter.

The Quote:

 

Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said the decision between starting Enes Kanter or Harry Giles was an easy one.

Enes will start. It was a pretty simple evaluation. He was our starting center two years ago in the playoffs when Nurk got hurt last time. So there wasn’t much to evaluate.

Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts

The Stat: 

Portland's second unit outscored Atlanta's bench, 35-19.

Next up: The Trail Blazers continue their seven-game homestand with game number three Monday afternoon when the San Antonio Spurs visit Moda Center. Portland and San Antonia will tip-off at noon PST Thursday on NBCSNW.