CJ McCollum drops his first career triple double and Seth Curry pours in a high season 22 points to help the Portland Trail Blazers take down the Atlanta Hawks by a score of 120-111. Blazers starters scored 15 points or more, leading to the victory.
The Dameless Pick-N-Roll
The Damian Lillard / Jusuf Nurkic pick and roll has been one of Portland's most effective sets this year. CJ McCollum and replacement starter Seth Curry running the show off the screen with Lillard out of the lineup. The results were great reads and high-percentage shots. Both players were able to pick and choose their teeth, they were off to shoot, they were off to shooters, and they got their own shot. The Blazers put up 40 in the first quarter and looked to get whatever the wanted offensively.
It's worth noting that it's a major reason that the game has not been reiterated. Trey Young and Jeremy Lin were both pretty non-contributing factors.
Mo (e) e Harkless
Moe Harkless averages less than 6 points per game this season so Atlanta decided to hide their weakest defender on him. After getting punished on the pick-and-roll early, that defender was Trey Young. Portland made the adjustment and Moe started getting the floor early and gaining early position on the much smaller Young. Harkless got himself a few easy buckets off the deal, but more importantly, it helped Harkless build some aggression looking for his shot. 1
The Blazers' offense was unstoppable early but 9 turnovers in the first half allowed the Hawks to grab a one-point halftime lead. Very few, if any of those turnovers, were forced. Portland, Lancard, but they would not be able to avoid any unforeseen errors against one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA. The Blazers were better in the second half. Portland missed opportunities to get Jusuf Nurkic touches, but CJ McCollum looked good as a primary ball handler. If he did so day-in and day-out.
Trey Young destroyed Portland. He's a 39% shooter on the season, but you never know how comfortable he looked at all the game. It was not until Wade Baldwin came in late that Young finally felt some pressure.
Overall, though, any win the Blazers can get without Damian Lillard on the court is a huge plus. The Blazers lost Evan Turner's The Good Luck today with contributions up and down the roster.
CJ McCollum – With Lillard out, CJ got the key to the ride and he played the part. CJ was looking for better than he has in the past. Part of that is a shift in role. Nonetheless, nothing can be taken away from the amazing night from CJ. His first career triple-double and led the Blazers to a win. Great showing: 28 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds.
Jusuf Nurkic – Nurk has been so useful when he touches the ball lately, that it bothers me how many possessions go by when he is not Involved. Nurkic still impacts the game, especially on the boards and on the defensive end, but Portland go to him more on the offensive side of the ball.
Seth Curry – Seth saw opportunity with Lillard out and taken advantage. He was not very effective defensively, but he had the green light and took advantage. Seth finished with 22 points and hit three big 3's in the fourth quarter to help seal the win.
Al-Farouq Aminu – Amino finished the first perfect from the floor. Hey what 3-3 from inside the arc, 2-2 from deep, and 6-6 from the free throw line. Stellar helped out Portland in a dangerous position.
The Blazers' next contest will come Wednesday, January 30th at the Moda Center Against the Utah Jazz. It will be Portland's only game the whole week.
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