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McCollum Breaks Records, Buries Bulls
PORTLAND – By the time the first quarter buzzer sounded, CJ McCollum had more points – 28 – than any Blazer in a quarter in team history, more than any NBA player in a quarter this season, and more than the Bulls had on the scoreboard as a team. Behind those 28 points, Portland took a 43-19 lead into the second quarter and never trailed, finishing off the win by a 124-108 count in front of a sellout crowd of 19,422 at Moda Center.
“I don’t know what the right word is, but a very impressive outing by CJ,” said Head Coach Terry Stotts. “What he did in the first quarter was amazing. It was fun to sit back and watch that.”
But McCollum didn’t stop there. By the time his night was over, McCollum netted 50 points – a new career high (43, 1/1/17 at Minnesota). And his night ended after the third quarter. So while he became the seventh Blazer in franchise history to score at least 50 in a game, he was the first to do it before the fourth quarter.
“A lot of elite players score 50 points…it shows that you’re a really unique scorer and have a lot of abilities,” said McCollum. “And to do it in three quarters is just a credit to our staff for helping develop me, hard work, teammates sharing, setting screens, sacrificing a lot of stuff.”
“I recognized that feeling,” added fellow 50-point scorer Damian Lillard. “I saw the rhythm that he was playing with, and at that point it was just my job to make sure he got the ball in his hands as many times as possible. He just kept rolling.”
The Trail Blazers have now won four straight games for the first time this season, and wins in seven of their past eight contests have boosted Portland’s record to a season-best seven games above .500 at 29-22. Meanwhile, an eight-game home winning streak has improved Portland’s Moda Center mark to 15-10 on the year.
“Right before All-Star break we wanted to go on a run, take care of home court, beat teams under .500, and steal some games on the road,” added McCollum.
MCCOLLUM MAKES HIS MARK
- McCollum is the newest member of Portland’s exclusive 50-point club, joining Clyde Drexler, Damian Lillard, Andre Miller, Geoff Petrie, Damon Stoudamire and Brandon Roy.
- McCollum becomes the sixth NBA player to reach the 50-point plateau this season, with only James Harden accomplishing the feat more than once (4).
- McCollum’s 28 points (11-14 FG, 4-5 3-PT) in the first quarter surpassed Damian Lillard’s franchise mark of 26 points (twice) and bested Los Angeles Clipper Lou Williams’s 27 points in a quarter for the NBA’s best mark.
- McCollum only needed four points in the second quarter to finish the half with the second-most in team history (32). Lillard held onto at least one of his records on this night – he scored 33 points in the second half of his franchise-record 59-point explosion against Utah last April.
- McCollum didn’t leave many points to go around, but surely his teammates don’t mind. Lillard (13), Jusuf Nurkic (12) and Pat Connaughton (10) rounded out the other scorers in double figures.
- Zach LaVine paced the Bulls with 23 points on 8-for-13 field goal shooting (3-4 3-PT).
- The Trail Blazers completed a perfect January at Moda Center, going 7-0 at home this month. The 1999-2000 season marks the last time Portland went undefeated at home in January (7-0).
- Portland’s 43 points in the first quarter set a new season high for points in the first frame and tied the season mark for points in any quarter (3rd quarter vs Minnesota, Jan. 24). The team’s 67 points at the half were a new first-half season best.
- The Blazers swept the two-game season series against the Bulls for the first time since 2013-14.
- Damian Lillard’s bid for 10,000 points will have to wait at least one more game. With 13 points tonight, he now sits at 9,988 career points.
“That was crazy. That was unreal. It was big time. What Dame did last year and this one…That was one of the best performances I’ve seen since I’ve been in the league.” – Evan Turner on CJ McCollum’s 50-point game
The Trail Blazers take their longest win streak of the season back out on the road for a three-game trip starting north of the border against the Toronto Raptors on Friday. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Northwest and NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620 AM.