McCollum, Rookies Lead The Way At Fan Fest

by Casey Holdahl
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As is almost always the case, Portland’s two best players on the court Sunday afternoon started together in the backcourt. Though this time, Damian Lillard wasn’t one of the two.

Veteran CJ McCollum and undrafted rookie Isaiah Briscoe combined to 29 points to lead Portland Black to a 54-37 victory over Lillard and Portland Grey at the 2017 Wells Fargo Fan Fest at the Moda Center.

“I thought it was entertaining,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts, who left the coaching to his assistants during Sunday’s intrasquad scrimmage. “I thought the guys played hard. Obviously CJ had a nice little roll going. For this type of event I was pretty pleased.”

The scrimmage, which is comprised of four six-minute, running clock quarters, was close for the first six minutes, but Portland Black used started the second quarter on a 10-0 run to take control of the scrimmage. Portland Black would go on to outscore Portland Gray 31-12 in the second and third quarters to coast to the victory.

“I think we made more shots than (Portland Gray) and got more stops,” said McCollum. “The game flow is a little different out here because (Evan Turner) is drawing up plays in the huddle and stuff like that. It was fun, fun to get out there and compete. You just try to get a sweat in, stay healthy and not get any injuries or anything like that and I think that’s what we got done today.”

McCollum would win MVP honors thanks to finishing with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 shooting from three with two assists. As for Briscoe, the 6-3 guard out of Kentucky went 6-of-7 from the field and 2-of-2 from three for 14 points to go with six rebounds, five assists and two steals.

“It went good, first time getting out there in front of the fans,” said Briscoe, who is competing for the last roster spot going into preseason. “It’s just fun going up and down, just competing.”

Rookie Caleb Swanigan was the lone bright spot on offense for Portland Grey, going 5-of-9 from the field and 1-of-1 from three for 13 points to go with four rebounds and an assist. The 6-6 forward out of Purdue did most of his damage in the second half, scoring on three-straight possessions in the fourth quarter to make the final score a bit more respectable for Portland Gray.

“I felt good, I felt well once I started to get my sweat going early on,” said Swanigan. “It was a little sporadic, but it was just basketball.”

Damian Lillard started and played for Portland Gray, finishing with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting from the field and 2-of-3 shooting from three. Pat Connaughton also started at guard for Portland Gray, going 3-of-5 from the field for seven points.

Ed Davis, playing in front of the crowd at the Moda Center for the first time since undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in March, finished with nine points and five rebounds for Portland Black. Jake Layman went made two of his three three-point attempts on the way to eight points in the intrasquad affair.

Maurice Harkless, Evan Turner, Shabazz Napier, Noah Vonleh and CJ Wilcox all sat out the scrimmage with various injuries.

With Fan Fest over, the team now looks to the start of the preseason schedule, which begins Tuesday versus the Phoenix Suns at the Moda Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 pm.