CJ McCollum says he lives for the big moment, and proved it Sunday by dropping 37 points on the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 to send them home for the summer.
McCollum’s heroics pushed the Portland Trail Blazers to a dramatic 100-96 road win, and into the Western Conference Finals.
An emotional Damian Lillard said this was their reward for staying the course following a humiliating first round playoff sweep at the hands of the lower-seeded New Orleans Pelicans last season.
Per The Athletic:
“I like big moments, man,” McCollum said afterward. “I make my name off big moments. That’s how I got here. Playing big in high school (Canton, Ohio), big games in college (Lehigh), and playing big in games as a younger player in the NBA.
“But this is what I live for. This is when I play my best basketball,” McCollum said.
He also had the game’s biggest defensive play, chasing down Jamal Murray and blocking the fastbreak layin attempt by the Nuggets’ star guard.
McCollum credited Seth Curry for cutting off Murray’s lane to the basket.
“Then (Murray) just put it right there for me and I just went and got it, ‘Bron style,”’ McCollum said. “Shout out to my guy Bron (LeBron James). It was a mini-version of LeBron’s block on (Andre Iguodala) a few years ago (in the NBA Finals). It’s something I will remember forever. I might have to get a picture of that one.”