----- CJ McCollum scores Nine points and adds six rebounds and six assists in his return as Blazers top the Denver Nuggets 115-108 Sunday night at Moda Center.
CJ McCollum made his return to the Trail Blazers lineup after missing 10-games with a knee injury as the Portland Trail Blazers kept their hopes for home court advantage alive with a 115-108 win over the Denver Nuggets Sunday night at Moda Center.
McCollum recorded nine points, six rebounds, and six assists in 24 minutes.
“Well, we won so that’s always a good thing,” McCollum said. “I felt like I was moving alright. I felt like defensively, latterly, I was just trying to work on some things that I wasn’t able to do on my own, just because of the lack of practices, but I felt like I was moving pretty well. I felt like my conditioning was in pretty good shape.”
Terry Stotts said before the game that McCollum would play but would be on a minutes restriction.
“I thought he looked really good early. He looked fresh. It looked like he had the legs," Stotts said. "I don’t know if he kind of wore down a little bit as the game went on.”
Moving forward the team will talk with McCollum and the training staff to determine a plan of action over the final two games, but the plan is to get him more time on the floor before the playoffs again. He is hopeful the minutes restriction will be lifted for the playoffs.
Damian Lillard rebounded from a poor shooting night in Denver on Friday to score a game-high 30 points on 9-for-19 shooting including 5-for-11 from three-point range. Al-Farouq Aminu played one of his best games of the season scoring 23 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.
Lillard got plenty of help from the bench. Seth Curry and Rodney Hood each scored 11 and Evan Turner added eight points, six rebounds, and six assists.
Denver (53-27) played without several of their key players Sunday night with Head Coach Michael Malone choosing to give his guys some rest before the playoffs begin next weekend. Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Paul Milsap all took the night off.
Denver's reserves gave Portland all they could handle. After trailing 60-49 at halftime, the Nuggets stormed back to take a 105-98 lead with 4:33 remaining. The Blazers responded by closing the game on a 17-3 run.
With the Jazz losing at the Lakers on Sunday night, the Blazers are now one win away from securing home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. With two wins and a Houston loss, Portland can secure the third seed in the West.
Up Next- The Trail Blazers travel to Los Angeles to meet the Lakers on Tuesday night. Game is scheduled to tip off at 7:30 PM.
Chad's Take- CJ is back and he looked better than I could have imagined. Wonderful news for Portland!