Chauncey Billups honestly talks about CJ McCollum’s return

CJ McCollum picked up 20 points in the first half versus Miami Heat on Wednesdays, knocking down tough jumpers from all over the way to the 8/11 shot and 4/5 from outside the arc. His performance was a resounding endorsement not only of McCollum’s condition after spending six weeks on the sidelines, but also of how dangerous he is. Portland Trail Blazers maybe when their meteor guardian is active — even without Damian Lillard.

Portland led Miami 60-58 at the time of the pause, an enduring effort away from home led by a return-to-start game. Anfernee Simons matched McCollum by 20 points in the first half, catching fire midway through the second half to give his team the lead. With Jimmy Butler out and the Heat absent Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro, the second half seemed like the perfect opportunity for McCollum, Simons and the still-battled Blazers to win their third game in a row on the road.

It didn’t happen.

Ended by a dismal fourth inning in which it was overtaken 26-12, Portland lost to Miami 104-92 in a highly competitive game that remained balanced until the final minutes of the fourth inning. Bam Adebayo scored 10 of his 20 points during the crunch and was the driving force behind the Heat’s increased pressure on the other side, helping the Blazers’ defenders firmly defend as they moved into the outer ring. .

After the match, Chauncey Billups admit that tired played a key role in Simons’ late game struggles, especially after he kept Portland uncomfortably afloat in the third quarter. However, the Blazers’ rookie head coach dismissed the notion that tired legs contributed to McCollum’s second-half vanishing action, scoring four points after shooting 2/9 in front of an excellent defence. of Miami and an inevitable period of re-adaptation after so much time apart. from the game.

“I think CJ played really well. It’s been way too long, he picked and played pretty well,” said Billups. “I think his rhythm might have been off a bit, his timing was just a little bit. But for the most part I think he played really well.”

McCollum insisted his condition was not an issue on Monday, following his first comeback in Portland’s win over Orlando Magic. He also doesn’t look particularly shabby in South Beach. But just because his body is right after a terrible trauma that doesn’t mean McCollum will play at the level Rip City is accustomed to for extended games.

Just flashes of that dynamic form of attack were enough for the Blazers — and the confederacy at large, with the trade deadline approaching — to feel good about McCollum’s condition after recovering from the stampede. lung. He’s offered a lot against Miami; the next step is to maintain them for a full 48 minutes.

Cade Cunnningham, Evan Mobley, Pistons Chauncey Billups honestly talks about CJ McCollum’s return

James Brien

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