When the Portland Trail Blazers signed Anthony Tolliver to a one-year deal over the offseason, it was expected that the twelve-year NBA veteran would bring years of professional experience to a younger team aspiring to make another deep playoff run.
But on Tuesday night they needed him for more than just experience.
The Creighton-product finished with a season-high 16 points and eleven rebounds in the Blazers’ most recent outing: a narrow 115-112 win over the Charlotte Hornets. Shortly after the game, NBC Sports Northwest’s Jamie Hudson delved deeper to find out what went into Tolliver’s walk-off interview worthy performance.
To those watching, there was seemingly no indication early on that the game would be anything special for Tolliver. However, after not attempting a single shot throughout the first three quarters, Tolliver impressed his coach by stringing together 16 points, all in the final frame.
“I’m glad we kept our composure, and made plays when we needed to. Anthony Tolliver, we haven’t researched if that’s the most points that he’s scored in a quarter, but I told him in the locker room, ‘we don’t give out game balls but if we did, he would get it,’ Stotts said postgame.
Stotts also made sure to mention the little things that Tolliver did to contribute to the much-needed victory.
“It’s easy to just look at the points, but he got us extra possessions. When they were double teaming, he found the opening to make himself available. He just made a lot of hustle plays; tipping the ball out and getting extra possessions, I don’t know how many times he did that.”
While Lillard helped close the game out down the stretch, it was Tolliver that scored two-thirds of the Blazers’ points in the final quarter as Portland staved off what could have been yet another disappointing defeat.
Tolliver is averaging 3.8 points and 3.4 rebounds through 31 games this season.
You can read the rest of Hudson’s article here.