CJ McCollum was motivated by criticism following 2018 sweep
The Portland Trail Blazers are one win away from advancing in the postseason after they took a 3-1 series lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, and the performance of CJ McCollum is a big reason why. You can thank his critics for that.
After he scored 27 points in Sunday’s 111-98 win at OKC, McCollum told reporters he and his teammates have been motivated this year by their “really embarrassing” playoff sweep at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans a year ago.
Blazers' CJ McCollum: "We got swept last year. It was on TV every day. They talked about me getting traded, how we can't win together. I was able to fly to Europe to see my brother play because the season ended so early. I told him this year, I ain't going to be able to make it." pic.twitter.com/5Vo0a0TgVd
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 22, 2019
The Blazers may have also gotten an extra boost from Paul George, who irritated them with a meaningless dunk at the end of Game 3. Plus, Russell Westbrook is doing a poor job of putting the Thunder in position to win with the way he has been shooting the ball.
McCollum dealt with a knee injury toward the end of the season, but fortunately it turned out to be nothing serious. While many picked the Thunder to turn some heads in the playoffs after the season George had, Portland may be a team to watch out for going forward.