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Blazers' Performance Speaks For Itself After Five Straight Wins

The Trail Blazers continue strong home stand, but tension rises between players and media.

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers notched their fifth consecutive win with a 107-95 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night. For the fourth time this season, CJ McCollum hit the 30-point mark, but his play was not the only topic of conversation afterward. CSNNW prods for insight in the locker room:

Gerald Henderson

There’s one guy in our studio who’s adamant that lately the team has been quote-unquote "showcasing" you for trade. I say you’re just finding your groove. How do you explain kind of your recent surge?

I don’t even think about that or care about it. I just go out and try to do what I can to help the team win. That’s it.

CJ McCollum

I think it’s done more for you guys. Give you guys something to talk about: Improvement, coming together, team chemistry, fighting for the playoffs, all that stuff. For us, we know what we’re capable of, it’s more about just putting it together each night, finishing games, and winning home games you’re supposed to win.

So you don’t see any accomplishment in winning five in a row?

That’s not what I said. I said it’s more for you guys. You know, it is—

So you’re playing for us now?

That’s not what I said either. I said it gives you guys something to talk about. For us, we’re just doing our job, protecting home court. It’s good that we won five in a row, but, in the long run, we got to continue to be consistent defensively, and I think we’ve done that. We’re winning home games that we’re supposed to win.

What do you think the biggest difference has been on the defensive end?

Agressiveness and doing a better job in pick-and-rolls, contesting shots, bigs are trusting us and we’re trusting the bigs, and I think it’s just ball pressure, being cognizant of where guys are at, running them off the line, and securing rebounds. I think that’s the biggest thing. And offensively, when you take good shots, you don’t turn the ball over, it’s easier to play halfcourt defense.

Noah Vonleh

I think it was when Khris Middleton was driving the baseline , I went over to help try to block the shot, and I think Greg Monroe might have got under me.

How does it feel now?

It’s feeling a little sore, but I don’t think it’s anything major.

You got x-rays and all that?

Yeah, I got x-rays. They said there were no breaks. There wasn’t nothing major, just a little swelling. It should go down pretty quick.

Are you going to do anything special? I see you’ve got no ice on it or anything like that.

I got a NormaTec at home. I’m going to get on the NormaTec and just keep doing some treatment when I get in tomorrow morning.

No MRI? You said x-rays, but…

Yeah, we did a x-ray in the back.

Not an MRI?

No, not an MRI.

Could you guess whether or not you’re going to be available for the next game?

I have no idea. I just got to play it by how I feel. See how I feel tomorrow morning.

When it initially happened, too, you rolled it and was it, like, incredible pain right away, or was it—

Yeah, the pain was there right away. I could barely walk on it.

Damian Lillard

Just the small things on defense, getting to the nail, having active hands, playing physical, being consistent with those things, communicating, sticking to our scouting report, what direction to send guys, getting to the help early, but being able to do those things consistently, I think we’ve done a much better job of doing it over four quarters.

Damian, these next four or five games before the All-Star break, very good teams you’re playing. Do you feel good about your chances moving forward here?

Yeah, I think what we’ve done over the last five or six games, I think we’ve gained confidence from the way that we’ve played. We’ve moved the ball well offensively, we’ve been consistent on the defensive end of the floor too, so I think because of that, gong into these next couple games, we’ll feel good about what we’ve done.

This defense you guys have been playing all season right now?

Yeah, I think so.

Just these practices over these last two or three weeks have allowed you to kind of get back to basics?

Yeah, I mean, at times. Being able to get on the floor and, like I said, walk through things, talk about things, watch more film, get deeper into the details. It’s helped us a lot.


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