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Mom’s Favorite: CJ McCollum

CJ McCollum’s dazzling moves earned him Mom’s Favorite this week, among many notable performances by the Trail Blazers.

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Six Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Each week, Team Mom highlights her favorites plays, players and other things that made the Trail Blazers fun to watch. Who is Mom’s Favorite this week? Did anyone get put in the dog house? What were your favorite things this week? Let us know in the comments below.

Western Conference Semi-Finals: Series tied 3-3.

Mom’s Favorite

CJ McCollum’s drives have twisted up opponents and energized the crowd during the second round of the playoffs. His dribbling has been mesmerizing, whether finishing at the rim or shaking someone in the mid-range like the earthquake simulator at OMSI that rocks the floor and plays “I feel the earth/move under my feet.”

The number of drives that he takes per game has gone from 9.4 drives per game to 13.2 against Denver. He dribbles 3 or more times on 62 percent of his shots up from 51.1 percent during the regular season.

But these aren’t the “pound, pound, pound” drives of a ball hog, nor are they the freight-train-down-the-tracks drives to the hoop that are Lillard’s calling card. McCollum’s drives are a slither and a slide and a start and a stop, a swoop around Jokic, a slip past Millsap. Oh it is a beautiful thing when CJ is cooking!

Gold Star: Rodney Hood

Rodney Hood has come a long way in the last year. As a mid-season addition to the Cleveland Cavaliers roster, he limped through the playoffs averaging 5.3 points in 17 playoff games, shooting 42.4 percent from the field and a miserable 16.7 percent from three. It all came to a head in an incident in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in which Hood was reportedly asked to sub in for Lebron James but he refused to come in off the bench.

We don’t know exactly what happened one year ago and 2400 miles away, but fast forward to the Western Conference Semifinals, and we are seeing an energized player averaging 16.2 points per game, shooting 60.4 percent from the field, 57.9 percent from three.

Here he is talking about how comfortable he is this year.

Not only did he hit the winning shot in the 4 OT victory:

He had a career high 25 points in a win-or-go-home game six.

If you run into Rodney Hood in town, buy him a coffee or a beer or a donut. Whatever he wants, he deserves it!

Honorable Mention

Zach Collins’ intensity. Zach Collins has steadily improved this playoff series. He has scored in double digits in three of the last five games, recorded at least one block in four of the last five games (five in the last game alone), and made nine of his last ten free throws.

We knew the Denver front court was going to be a problem without Jusuf Nurkic to challenge them. Kanter has played much better defense than we expected but he hasn’t been able to knock either Nikola Jokic or Paul Millsap out of their game. Enter Zach Collins with his intense glare, foul mouth, and willingness to fight first and ask questions later. None of these are qualities I would particularly want him to display at a Mother’s Day luncheon, but he should certainly feel free to unleash this side of himself on the court.

NBC Sports Northwest’s Dane Delgado did a great video highlighting all of Zach Collins’ box outs in game six:

And of course, he rocked this sequined tank on the podium on Thursday night. Big Z is absolutely soaking up all of the wisdom the Evan Turner has to dispense.

Never enough superlatives to describe Damian Lillard. This walk-off interview with ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth embodies Damian Lillard to a T. After scoring 32 points himself, when asked about his leadership, he took the time on national television to point out the unseen leadership of guys like Meyers Leonard and Evan Turner. “It takes a lot more than one person to lead a group of men. It takes a lot more than one person to lead a team.”

Once again McCollum leads the league in distance traveled. I believe his conditioning is one of the keys to the Blazer’s success this postseason. No one looked fresher than CJ after the 4OT game.

Happy Birthday Moe Harkless

That will do it for this week’s Mom’s Favorite. What were your favorite things that happened with the Trail Blazers in the second round? Let us know in the comments below!