CJ Passes Rasheed In Blowout Win Versus Kings

by Casey Holdahl
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Saturday night in Sacramento, CJ passed CTC.

McCollum scored 37 points to move past Rasheed Wallace for 10th in franchise history in scoring while leading the Trail Blazers to a 125-99 victory versus the Sacramento Kings Saturday night at Golden1 Center.

“Sheed is a great player who had a tremendous career, got a lot of respect for him,” said McCollum. “So to be able to accomplish something that that is definitely special. I’m just looking forward to continuing to get better each night and try to put on elite performances.”

The Trail Blazers are now 5-4 overall and 3-2 on the road this season.

It can be tough to get the attention you deserve when you share a backcourt with a player like Damian Lillard, but McCollum is making a strong case for All-Star consideration through the first nine game of the season. The 6-4 guard in his eight season out of Lehigh is averaging 26.8 points, four points better than his career best, on 46 percent shooting from the field and 43 percent shooting from three while also handing out 5.3 assists and averaging better than a steal a game.

“I think he’s just playing well,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stott. “He’s in a good rhythm, I think he’s shooting it with confidence. Since we’ve made the emphasis to shoot more threes, he’s taken that to heart. He’s looking for it when he’s open at three, he shoots it with confidence. It’s not the first time he’s been on a good roll but he’s definitely off to a good start.”

He wasted no time getting going Saturday in Sacramento, scoring 11 points in the first four minutes and 25 seconds of play versus a Kings team playing on the second night of a back-to-back. He’d finish the first quarter with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field and 2-of-4 shooting from three in less than eight minutes.

Between McCollum production on offense and Portland’s defense holding the Kings to 36 percent shooting and De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Heild to a combined 2-of-8, the Trail Blazers took a 38-24 lead into the second quarter.

Both McCollum’s scoring and the Trail Blazers ability to slow a Kings team that looked overmatch for most of the night abated in the second quarter, though thanks in part to a 15-10 rebounding edge, Portland managed to add outscore Sacramento by three to take a 17-point lead into the intermission.

McCollum blew the game open in the third, scoring 16 of Portland’s 27 points in the quarter. The 10th overall pick of the 2013 Draft scored 11-straight Blazers points between the 8:17 and 6:45 marks, a run that included a three that pushed McCollum past 9,119 career points in Portland, pushing him past Wallace and bringing him closer to Mychal Thompson, who sits in ninth in franchise history in scoring with 9,215 points.

“It’s really cool, I grew up watching Sheed, him playing in the Air Force 1s with the straps in the back,” said McCollum. “Ball don’t lie, we still use that to this day. So it’s an honor to be in the same conversation as someone like him, someone so dominant and influential in the game.”

McCollum’s dominance Saturday night, particularly in the third, helped Portland take their largest lead of the game at 86-55 with 5:40 to play in the quarter. They gave some of it back to end the third, but they’d hold the Kings to 35 percent shooting in the fourth to ensure there would be no reason for the starters to return.

“I really liked our team defense in general,” said Stotts. “I thought Nurk and Enes did a nice job protecting the lane, I thought we were locked in on our defensive schemes, whether switching or blitzing or sending them in a certain direction. I thought this was one of our better nights as far as locking in on game plans. I was very pleased with it.”

Five other Trail Blazers joined McCollum, who now has four games this season with at least six made three-pointers, in double figures Saturday night.

Lillard went just 5-of-16 from the field but finished with 17 points to go with six assists, four rebounds and a steal in 29 minutes. Jusuf Nurkic turned in a yeoman performance with 10 points, 8 rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block in 23 minutes.

Carmelo Anthony added 13 points and Gary Trent Jr. pitched in 10. Enes Kanter had yet another double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds in 19 minutes.

Marvin Bagley led the Kings with 15 points in 24 minutes. Hassan Whiteside and Glen Robinson Jr each had 11 and Fox and Harrison Barnes each had 10.

Next up, the Trail Blazers return home to host the Raptors Monday night, before returning back to Sacramento to face the Kings again Wednesday. Tipoff for the former is scheduled for 7 p.m.


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