While the spotlight was focused on Damian Lillard carving out another chunk franchise history, it was his backcourt mate who stole the show as CJ McCollum went Captain Marvel in the fourth quarter to will the Portland Trail Blazers to a 125-104 victory on the road against the Los Angeles Clippers.
With the Blazers nursing just a one point lead heading into final period, McCollum exploded for 23 of his 35 points in a three-point onslaught that left the Clippers run out of their own gym. Portland doubled L.A. up in the quarter 40-20 and never looked back.
Random thoughts and takeaways
Next time. Lillard was poised to pass LaMarcus Aldridge into second place on the franchise All-Time scoring list, but will need to wait just a little bit longer. Dame entered the game just 22 points behind Aldridge’s 12,562 in a Blazer uniform, but finished with just 20.
Mariana Bench. The self-proclaimed “Goon Squad” of the Clippers bench certainly lives up to the moniker and gives L.A. one heck of an edge in the depth department. Led by the physical Montrezl Harrell and silky-smooth (and seemingly ageless) Lou Williams, playing the Clippers feels like an endurance marathon compared to the ebbs and flows of a normal basketball game. Even without arguably their best player as of late, Danilo Gallinari, who rested tonight, L.A. never seemed to be lacking in capable bodies to throw into the mix. Harrell battled admirably with Jusuf Nurkic for most of the night and finished with 22 points, 10 boards and 3 blocks, while Williams struggled with his shot but still managed 18 points.
The Blazers will get a couple days off before they head to New Orleans to take on the down and out Pelicans Friday evening at 5 p.m.