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CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard Address Defensive Issues

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Blazers stray from defensive standards in third straight loss.

Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers wrapped up their 6-game road trip with a 103-123 loss to the Detroit Pistons, marking Portland's first time being swept by Detroit in a decade. Pistons guard Reggie Jackson once again caused havoc, scoring a game-high 30 points. The Blazers now return home for a brief reprieve. CSNNW brings us inside the locker room.

CJ McCollum

I’m just glad we got through it. We started off really strong then finished pretty poorly, but got a lot of games left; a lot of tough games coming up in March, so got to refocus, get back home, and try to get a win in the next game.

What did you see as your problems tonight?

We had a lot of problems. Didn’t stop the ball, guys hitting threes, giving up and-1s, offensive rebounds—a lot of things.

Does this sort of show how tough it’s going to be moving forward?

Yeah. There’s going to be ups and downs. Just got to try to minimize the downs; minimize these type of games where you’re fighting from behind, you know, double-digit deficits most of the game. Those are tough games to come back from and win because it takes so much energy to get the game close. So, got to continue to keep games closer, defend better. When you get stops, it’s easier to get out in transition, but when you’re taking the ball under the basket, you know, out every time, time after time, it kind of slows down the flow of the offense.

CJ, do you think that you’ll look back from this trip happy that you won three?

Yeah, I mean, we went .500. It’s not the end of the world, .500. It would have been nice to go 4-2, 5-1, or even 6-0, but realistically speaking, a lot of teams don’t go 6-0 on these type of trips in nine days, 10 days. So just got to try to compete, try to win the games that we should win, and refocus, and try to get one when we get back home.

Damian Lillard

I mean, obviously we happy with the first three games, and the last three it’s been like ‘Alright, we dropped Boston. We got to get the next one.’ We dropped Toronto. We really wanted to get tonight, but, you know, they hadn’t played well in the last two games. They didn’t even score 90 points. We didn’t come out with the right type of focus, I guess, and the right amount of intensity on the defensive end. They saw the ball go in and they had a great shooting night.

Part of it was us. We had some slip-ups. Us guards, may we should have did a better job of being in pursuit over pick-and-rolls. We could have did a much better job of helping each other out as a group, but a lot of plays that we did do what we wanted to do—we contested shots, they made shots, they played a good game, and we just didn’t do enough things well enough to win this last game on a six game trip.

What is your concern level at with the defense?

I’m not concerned, because it’s a challenge. The first three games of the trip, it’s not easy to be locked in and focused but I think you more edgy about it. We won the first three but it’s hard to sustain over this kind of trip. Guys are good; teams are good, it’s the NBA. You put that together with how hard that is alone going from city to city—time changes, weather changes, no practice, no shoot around—I mean, a lot of things play into it, but at the end of the day you got to go out there and do your job. We just didn’t do our jobs well enough the last three games.