CJ McCollum led Portland with 41 points, 17 of which he had in the first quarter. Hassan Whiteside double-doubled again with 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Gary Trent Jr. who had his shot falling all night, finished with 24 points.
As a whole, it was one of the Blazers’ best shooting nights of the season - the team was 55% from the floor overall, buried 16 threes and went a perfect 16-16 from the line. This all without Damian Lillard, who missed his sixth straight game with a groin strain.
Portland improves to 27-35, three games behind the Memphis Grizzlies (who are beating up on the Hawks tonight) for 8th place. Had this been a lost tonight, playoff hopes might have been put on life support, if they aren’t already. Now, and with the looming return of Lillard there is sliver of optimism.
We’re going to Disney World. There were local connections galore playing in Orlando, including Anfernee Simons (hometown), Nassir Little (near-ish hometown), Mario Hezonja (former team, drafted by) and Trevor Ariza (former team once upon a time). Hezojna stood out the most, turning in what technically qualifies for a “revenge game” with an emotionally enthused 10 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and a tech. Go get em’, Mario.
The Blazers will briefly return home to host the Washington Wizards Wednesday night.