Despite the absence of Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers pulled off a big 95-89 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday night. Portland’s two keys to the game: Playing scrappy defense most of the night, and the offensive excellence of CJ McCollum. He finished with a new career-high 43 points. Here’s video of CJ setting his new personal best:
And Mason Plumlee could only use a hashtag to describe McCollum’s performance. Verbally.
Behind McCollum’s offense, the Blazers took an early lead, but couldn’t maintain it during the second quarter. As their defense sputtered, the Wolves took advantage, pushing ahead by as many as 14 points. The defensive meltdown was clearly on the Blazers’ minds coming out of the locker room, however, as they held Minnesota to only 15 points in the third quarter. The Blazers took a lead as high as eight in the fourth quarter, but the Timberwolves fought back, closing to within one possession. However, the Blazers made the late plays to hold on, featuring a huge three-point play from Plumlee with one minute left to push Portland ahead by 7.
The Blazers were led by McCollum, Plumlee, Allen Crabbe and Evan Turner.
One game left in this short three-game road trip: A date with the Warriors on Wednesday night. But stay tuned, Eric Griffith has plenty of analysis from this game later tonight.