The Trail Blazers forced one chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat on Tuesday night, but came up short, falling to the Memphis Grizzlies 98-97. Down one with three seconds remaining, CJ McCollum missed an 18-footer from the left elbow over rookie wing Dillon Brooks. Although McCollum collected his own rebound, time expired before he could attempt another shot. Players and coaches from both teams react to the final possession:
What were you thinking there when CJ’s coming down and you’re on him on the last play?
Don’t score. He likes going left, so I knew he was going left and then he got me on the little push-off and he had an open shot. I feel I contested pretty good and I was just hoping that he missed. He missed and then got the rebound. I just ran back and tried to defend it again.
You chased him over to the corner to keep him from getting up another shot?
Yeah, and then I just jumped because I knew there was less time on the clock and I thought he was going to turn around and shoot it right there in the corner, but he didn’t.
Did you feel like you guys dodged a bullet with that call overturned there at the end and CJ getting a pretty good look?
I mean, we kind of put the bullet in the chamber for them, because a play before that we got caught ball-watching and he made the shot—pump fake, which you never jump for those pump fakes—it’s just things you learn. That’s why I talk about discipline, consistency, those things that you need to learn in order to play at this level. And not just play, but win at this level consistently. You need a lot of discipline besides just talent.
Brooks takes McCollum on those last two—
Well, you know, he’s a rookie. He had one mental lapse and you leave McCollum open for a three. But other than that, I really loved the way he competed. I thought he made them work, but you’re talking about premiere, elite guards in Dame and CJ, so all you can do is make them work. They’re still going to get numbers. They’re so well-coached with Terry [Stotts] that it’s hard to shut them down. You just want to make it difficult.
Do you feel good with him on McCollum there for the last—
I feel good with him on anybody. We’re developing him to be a stopper, so he has to go through mistakes, get the respect of the officials; he has to go through all of that stuff, so we can’t hide him from those guys.
Last possession; what did you think of CJ’s shot?
I mean he got a good look, it didn’t fall. It’s a lot of things that impact the outcome of a game. The last play is always what people talk about but it’s a lot that puts you in that position.
CJ McCollum (via NBC Sports NW)
Going left, I think I make that shot pretty often. So, I went to a comfort shot, missed it, got the rebound, had more time than I thought I should, so I tried to get it out the corner but time ran out.
It felt good, just a little short.
Just move forward. I got a good look. Got a shot I make very often. I got to finish it and I didn’t, so get back in the lab, back into working out, and be ready for the next game.
Terry, it’s ironic that McCollum misses the shot with the kind of game he had, correct?
Yeah, it was. Like I said, that was right in his sweet spot—going left, uncontested, 18-foot—I mean, that’s as good a shot as you can hope for.
What did you think of his performance?
It was outstanding. He made big shots, was able to penetrate, finish. We needed all of his points.
While McCollum was unable to seal the win for Portland, he did lead all scorers with 36 points, marking a season-high, seven point shy of his career-high 43.
The Trail Blazers have the opportunity to take out their frustrations on the 4-7 Brooklyn Nets, in Portland, Friday, at 7:00 PST.