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Blazers Talk Closing Out In Memphis, Last Second Tip-In

Winning 11 of their last 14 games, the Blazers are on a roll. Players credit their newfound, late-game success to experience and communication.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers continued their recent surge with a 112-106 road win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday. Strong performances from Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum carried the team, but it was a late tip-in initially credited to Gerald Henderson, and then to Allen Crabbe, that forced overtime, where the Blazers took full advantage of the extra period. CSNNW brings us inside the locker room:

CJ McCollum

I think it’s just experience. You know, going through losses, all that stuff helps. It gives you a better understanding of how to close out games. You’re not afraid to fail because you’ve failed over and over again. I think that’s how you see what people are made of and see what type of character and personality they have, because you got to be able to fail and overcome that to succeed later on. I think we’re starting to do that and starting to get a better understanding of where everybody’s going to be at and how to execute late.

Has there been a mindset change? I mean, do you guys sense a difference when you’re out there?

I just feel like everybody’s more comfortable. Having not been in this role before for a lot of guys, not playing extended minutes, not playing crucial possessions down the stretch where you understand each possession is huge. You know, back doors, stunting on a big, it’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t get seen in the box score. You know, running back and contesting layups, all that stuff. So just having an understanding of exactly what it takes to win each possession.

Damian Lillard

It shows huge growth for us. Coming on this trip, I think our team was excited because our last tie in Houston, we let the game slip at the end; our last tie here, we lost the game with 0.6 seconds left. We’ve been playing a lot better since then. We handled our business in Houston, we came out tonight, we grinded it out, we had a lot of things not go our way, but we stayed the course, we stayed together, we trusted each other on the defensive end, even when they scored and they made shots, we fought hard. They drained us with a bucket, we just kept with it and we grinded out the game.

This is the latest win, a close game for you guys. How would you describe the mentality or the attitude you guys have now in late games?

We’re a lot more aggressive and assertive and sure of what we do. We had situations where just had foul after foul after foul, and it was like, you know, we complained about the foul because it could have gone either way, but then we get to the next play. We don’t let plays linger on in our minds, we communicate a lot better with each other, and we’re just playing with a lot of pride right now. I think because of what we’ve been able to accomplish over the last couple weeks, we’ve gained a lot of confidence in what the coaches keep emphasizing, and we’ve played well doing those things, and we got another win doing those things tonight.

Gerald Henderson

I don’t think I did. I don’t think I did. There were a lot of hands up there, but I thought I saw the other team tap it in. Either way, I’m happy.

That sequence was crazy with you guys. I thought it showed a lot of… resolve. Yeah, that’s a good word for it. You just didn’t seem to want to except the fact that you weren’t going to score.

I mean, we came up with a lot of plays. They were scoring down the end of regulation, but Dame and CJ were coming down and making plays too. We just so happened to get a tip-in off of one of CJ’s misses, I think, and kind of like how we lost the game here back—you know, we got a tip-in and just came up with the plays. That’s the game.


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