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#pounditSunday, March 7, 2021

Articles tagged: CJ McCollum

Damian Lillard left teammate CJ McCollum impressed with big game

Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard left teammate C.J. McCollum highly impressed with his big game on Wednesday night.

Lillard had 43 points and 16 assists while leading his Portland Trail Blazers to a 126-124 win over New Orleans. Lillard made 7 of 16 threes and all eight of his free throws in the win.

The Blazers are playing without McCollum, who has a broken foot, and Jusuf Nurkic, who has a fractured wrist.

McCollum tweeted about Lillard’s performance and hyped up his backcourt mate.

McCollum’s tweet noted that Portland played in Oklahoma City on Tuesday and then in New Orleans on Wednesday. The Blazers traveled the day of the game and Lillard still led his team to victory.

Portland has won six in a row and is now 18-10. They were 10-9 after losing to Milwaukee on Feb. 1 but have turned it on since then.

Lillard and McCollum form a strong duo on the court, and they also are a good tag team on social media as well.

Blazers stars take note of ESPN slight

Damian Lillard

The Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies in a play-in to sneak into the playoffs in August, but at least one major network’s projections do not see them qualifying for the tournament this upcoming season. Star players are taking note of that.

ESPN released its projected final standings on Tuesday for the 2020-21 NBA season, and the Blazers were not listed as one of the top eight teams in the Western Conference. CJ McCollum shared the chart on Twitter and tagged teammate Damian Lillard.

While Portland finished with a losing record of 35-39 and nearly missed the playoffs, they closed out the regular season by winning seven of nine games. The Blazers had to face the Los Angeles Lakers, the eventual NBA champions, after defeating Memphis in a play-in series. They lost the L.A. series 4-1, but it’s hard to hold that against them.

Lillard went on a tear to close out the regular season in Orlando, scoring over 40 points in four of Portland’s final five games. He demanded some respect on his name after one monster performance, so ESPN’s slight should motivate him heading into this season.

The Blazers may not be viewed as a title contender, but they’re one of those teams you don’t want to play in the postseason. McCollum and Lillard are both capable of taking games over and making life difficult on even the toughest opponents. Portland fans can only hope they keep ESPN’s projections at the forefront of their minds.

Photo: Frenchieinportland/Wikimedia via CC-BY-SA 4.0

CJ McCollum is a big fan of Obi Toppin

Obi Toppin

The Portland Trail Blazers may not have been lucky enough to draft Obi Toppin on Wednesday, but that didn’t stop C.J. McCollum from singing the forward’s praises.

Toppin was taken No. 8 overall by the New York Knicks. McCollum, whose Blazers lost in the first round of the NBA playoffs to the Los Angeles Lakers, shared his thoughts on Toppin via Twitter.

There is no doubt about Toppin’s skill and potential. He was National Player of the Year at Dayton and averaged 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore last season. He made an impressive 63.3 percent of his field goals.

The big question about Toppin is his defense, but like McCollum noted, Obi has plenty of athleticism and offensive potential.

Photo: Rikster2/Wikimedia via cc-by-sa 4.0

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum clown Clippers on Twitter after series loss

Damian Lillard

The Los Angeles Clippers went out with a whimper in Game 7 against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, and the Portland Trail Blazers had a lot of fun mocking them.

Blazers guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum traded jokes on Twitter at the Clippers’ expense after watching them blow a 3-1 series lead and lose Game 7 of their series with Denver.

McCollum joked about the Clippers needing to join them in Cabo because they were going on vacation early.

He commented on the team’s lack of desire, saying it looked like they wanted to leave.

Then McCollum ended with the final blow:

That was a reference to the Clippers voting to end the NBA season mid-playoffs.

Lillard then trolled Patrick Beverley by inviting him to join him in Cancun for making an early playoff exit.

That was a direct response to Beverley taking a jab at Lillard last month with this Instagram comment.

The Clippers talked their trash to the Blazers. Now it’s their turn to be the subject of jokes for choking. And Portland’s guards sure had a fun time rubbing it in.

Video: CJ McCollum does Mike Tyson impression in postgame interview

CJ McCollum

First CJ McCollum dispatched of the Memphis Grizzlies in Orlando, Fla. on Saturday, and then he broke out with his best Mike Tyson impression.

McCollum is playing for Portland despite having a fracture in his lower back. That didn’t stop him from scoring 29 points in the Trail Blazers’ 126-122 win over Memphis to secure the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference playoffs.

McCollum and teammate Damian Lillard were interviewed by ABC’s Lisa Salters after the game. Salters asked how McCollum was able to play with his back injury. That’s when CJ did his Mike Tyson.

“I broke my back, spinal!” he said.

That comes from what Tyson said after his fight with Clifford Etienne in 2003.

He nailed that one.

Now McCollum’s Blazers will face the Lakers for a playoff series beginning on Tuesday. And McCollum is showing he has a real sense of humor even about his misfortunes.

CJ McCollum estimates a third of NBA players live paycheck-to-paycheck

CJ McCollum

The minimum salary in the NBA is nearly $900,000 and the average salary is $7.7 million. With numbers so high, most people would think NBA players are doing well financially, even during tough times like now when they’re facing possible missed paychecks. But that might not be the case.

CJ McCollum, who has played in the NBA for seven seasons, estimates that about a third of players live paycheck-to-paycheck. He gave his guess in response to a question from Jay Williams on “The Boardroom.”

“I would say out of 450 players … 150 probably are living paycheck to paycheck,” McCollum said.

“I think a lot of guys are going to be hurting especially people on minimums or people that didn’t just budget correctly and didn’t expect this to happen,” McCollum said, via The Boardroom. “Maybe they loaned money or paid money to family. Maybe they’re taking care of multiple people and now there’s a work stoppage for us and for a lot of people in America.”

McCollum, 28, wasn’t saying that to elicit sympathy for players. He actually has donated money in Portland to help with COVID-19 relief. But he said that to share that many people — even ones who might surprise you — are also struggling and/or concerned.

The players are in a dispute with the owners over whether they will get their next payments (scheduled for April 15) and how much they will receive.

H/T Big Daddy

CJ McCollum agrees to three-year extension with Blazers

CJ McCollum

The Portland Trail Blazers made a surprisingly deep playoff run this season when they reached the Western Conference Finals, and they have proven this offseason that they are intent on keeping their core together.

On Tuesday, the Blazers agreed to a three-year, $100 million contract extension with CJ McCollum. The star guard had two years remaining on his previous deal.

McCollum has been the model of consistency for the Blazers for several years now, and he averaged 21.0 points per game last season. He elevated his game in the postseason and averaged 24.7 points, which was one of the primary reasons for Portland’s success.

The Blazers signed Damian Lillard to a max contract extension worth around $200 million earlier in the offseason, so their backcourt is now locked down for several years.

CJ McCollum explains what makes Warriors so tough to face

CJ McCollum

The Golden State Warriors are tough to play not just because of their superstars, but because of their style of play, and CJ McCollum got a first-hand taste of that during the Western Conference Finals.

McCollum admitted that playing the Warriors is tough largely because of how synchronized they are on the court.

“The biggest difference you see with the Warriors compared to everybody else is how aligned they are,” McCollum said on the “Pull Up” podcast, via Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area. “Obviously, they’ve had some issues off the court this season. But once they step on that court, the communication is there. The understanding of where everyone is supposed to be is there consistently.

“You don’t ever really see them have crazy lapses. Offensively, constant movement off the ball and everyone is always looking to get Steph open; always looking to screen for Klay. And when they’re open, the ball is delivered on time and on target consistently.”

It’s this sort of thing that has allowed the debate to take hold over whether the Warriors are better without Kevin Durant, once which Durant addressed on Friday. It’s also why they’ll still be formidable even if he departs via free agency.

CJ McCollum meets woman behind ‘I’m trying Jennifer’ meme

CJ McCollum

The woman behind a famous meme involving CJ McCollum has received renewed attention with the Portland Trail Blazers making a deep postseason run, and McCollum is crediting her with helping to motivate him.

Not long before tip-off of Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals between the Blazers and Golden State Warriors, Jennifer Williams sat down for an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. McCollum came over to introduce himself, and he said “thank you” to her for providing motivation when she sent her now-famous tweet last year.

After DeMarcus Cousins signed with the Warriors last August, McCollum ripped the “disgusting stars” who are chasing championships with Golden State. Jennifer, who is a Warriors fan, zinged McCollum by telling him to “win a playoff game then talk.” McCollum replied by telling her, “I’m trying Jennifer,” and the response went viral.

The meme came back to life when McCollum scored 37 points and made some huge plays in Portland’s Game 7 win over the Denver Nuggets last round. Jennifer then came forward again and acknowledged that McCollum had proved her wrong.

And here we are. A simple tweet from a rival fan has become one of the most entertaining stories of the 2019 postseason. If the Blazers go on to pull a major upset and reach the NBA Finals, we know know it was Jennifer who helped get them there.

Kevin Durant told CJ McCollum last year Blazers are not championship team

Kevin Durant

The Golden State Warriors will have to get through the Portland Trail Blazers if they want to make it to a fifth consecutive NBA Finals. Assuming Kevin Durant’s opinion has not changed much since the offseason, he can’t be all that worried about his upcoming opponent.

Back in July, Durant made an appearance on CJ McCollum’s “Pull Up” Podcast and talked about the upcoming season. McCollum was upset that DeMarcus Cousins had just taken less money to join the Warriors and wanted the big man to sign with Portland. Durant dismissed McCollum’s frustrations, because he said the Blazers star should not be concerned about contending for a championship.

“I mean, you know you guys aren’t gonna win a championship,” Durant said while laughing. “Let’s be honest. I like y’all. You’re hard to stop, but I mean, come on. You can’t be upset about this.”

Durant went on to advise McCollum to “just keep playing and don’t worry about what goes on at the top of things.”

Durant and McCollum are obviously close, so Durant’s comments were really nothing more than friendly banter in that context. Still, it would not be a surprise if the Blazers use them as motivation to play up the whole “they don’t think we belong here” angle.

McCollum scored 37 points in Game 7 against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday and made some huge plays on both sides of the ball. The Blazers will be underdogs, but their confidence should be at its peak. That makes them as dangerous as any team the Warriors have faced.