Led by C.J. McCollum’s 29 points, the Portland Trail Blazers overcame former Blazer Will Barton’s 31 points, taking down the visiting Denver Nuggets 110-103 Wednesday night.
McCollum started at point guard in place of injured All-Star teammate Damian Lillard for the fourth straight game.
Per The Oregonian:
McCollum scored a team-high 29 points on 12-for-19 shooting while dishing out four assists and grabbing three rebounds. It was the eighth time in his past 11 games that he has scored at least 20 points. The most impressive part of his production on Wednesday night was that it met the increasingly lofty expectations that have been placed on McCollum. This wasn’t a fluke big game or fluke big week.
It was more than just the scoring. McCollum ran the Blazers offense and when the Nuggets threatened down the stretch he made the two biggest plays of the game. First, he drew a double team and passed out of a trap, finding a rolling Mason Plumlee, who quickly turned and whipped a pass to Crabbe for a corner three-pointer that put the Blazers up 10. Then when the Nuggets cut the lead to six with under a minute to play, McCollum weaved his way to the left elbow and hit a jumper that put the Blazers up 105-97 with 45 seconds left. […] “He’s playing with a lot of composure and confidence not only as a scorer but as a point guard,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.
Without Lillard the Blazers need McCollum to both orchestrate the offense and be the top scoring option. In his past two games, he’s looked the part even with defenses loading up to stop him. He had 35 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and four steals on Sunday night against the Sacramento Kings. He followed that up with a big night against the Nuggets, out dueling former Blazer Will Barton (31 points, five rebounds, four assists) to seal the win. On the year, McCollum is averaging 20.7 points, 4.2 assists, 3.6 rebounds while shooting 39.6 percent from beyond the three-point line.