NBA

McCollum driven by past Blazers failure

By Sports Desk April 22, 2019

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum insists his team-mates will retain their unwavering focus after moving to the brink of the Western Conference semi-finals. 

McCollum scored 27 on 10-of-20 shooting as the Blazers opened up a 3-1 series lead over Oklahoma City Thunder with an 111-98 win in Game 4. 

Another win in Portland on Tuesday would see the Blazers advance and McCollum is ready to stay above the fray when it comes to trash talk. 

"I think we're a lot more mature than we were in past years," McCollum told reporters. "We can handle adversity and understand what we want to accomplish. 

"We didn't want anything to get in the way, we didn't want anything to interfere with that. Multiple times we had discussions about not saying anything to anyone.  

"If they're not wearing a black or grey jersey, don't talk to them. Don't talk to the refs, don't talk to the other team and let's get out of here with a win 

"That was our mindset. Having been through what we've been through historically we understand what we need to do, who we need to talk to and how we need to execute."

The Blazers were beaten 4-0 in the first round against the New Orleans Pelicans last year, having suffered the same fate against the Golden State Warriors in 2017 – setbacks that act as enduring motivation for McCollum. 

"We got swept last year. It was really embarrassing, and everybody talked about it," he said. 

"It was on TV every day. They talked about us getting swept, they talked about me getting traded, talked about how we can't win together. 

"We remember, and we know that feeling of going home early." 

Barring a stunning turnaround, it will be the Thunder and Russell Westbrook heading home early. 

Star point guard Westbrook finished the game by missing 10 straight shots and relied heavily on his jump shot throughout, taking only three shots in the paint and missing each one. 

"I get deep paint any time I want, but I always make the right play," Westbrook said, as quoted by ESPN.  

"So, when I'm in deep paint I find guys on the perimeter. My job is to make sure guys get the basketball.  

"I don't need to shoot a layup every single time. But I'm in the paint all game, and that's how it goes sometimes.  

"Shot attempts is not the only thing that I can do to make sure I'm in it for the defence and kick it out to make open shots."

Related items

  • Kemba Walker will 'forever love' Michael Jordan Kemba Walker will 'forever love' Michael Jordan

    Boston Celtics recruit Kemba Walker will "forever love" Michael Jordan for giving him a chance in the NBA.

    Walker joined the Celtics via sign and trade earlier this month, ending an eight-season stay in Charlotte with the Bobcats and Hornets.

    The three-time All-Star guard, unveiled by the Celtics on Wednesday, paid tribute to Hornets owner and NBA great Jordan.

    "He had a great influence on me. First of all, he drafted me. He gave me my opportunity to play in this league," Walker said.

    "He allowed me to play through mistakes, allowed me as a person, as a man. I love that dude, that's my guy, we have a great relationship.

    "I'll forever love him because of the opportunity he gave me."

    Walker has reportedly signed a four-year, $141million max contract with the Celtics, who are 17-time NBA champions.

    The 29-year-old said he was eager for success with Boston after reaching the playoffs just twice in eight seasons in Charlotte.

    "For me, it's the competitiveness of this organisation, they've been winning for years," Walker said.

    "You can see all the banners upstairs and in the arena. It's a winning organisation and I want to win – that's what I'm about.

    "Throughout my basketball career and as a pro, I haven't won consistently, and I just want to get a taste of that. I thought that this was the best place for me to do that."

  • Tacko Fall could make Celtics' roster, says GM Ainge Tacko Fall could make Celtics' roster, says GM Ainge

    Tacko Fall could start the season in the NBA after impressing with the Boston Celtics.

    The center out of Central Florida went undrafted in 2019 but impressed in the summer league after signing a non-guaranteed Exhibit 10 contract with the Celtics.

    General manager Danny Ainge was asked about Fall during a news conference on Wednesday.

    "He's a great kid, he's working really hard, we want to take his development very seriously," Ainge said, via WEEI.

    "He's a high priority for us to try to really develop into a player."

    The Celtics have an open roster spot, which Fall could fill, after they waived forward Guerschon Yabusele earlier this month.

    "I think that Tacko is going to have a chance to make the roster, but we'll see," Ainge said. "He's here working out right now, brought him in for a few days. We see some upside there, we're excited about him."

    Fall averaged 7.2 points and 1.4 blocks while shooting 77 per cent from the field during his time with the Celtics in the summer league.

    "You know, some of the plays he makes are hilarious, because you just don't see them," Ainge said. "I mean, guards get in a bind and they just throw the ball up in the air and then Tacko grabs them and tip-toe dunks them into the basket. It just looks like it's a senior in high school playing against fourth-graders sometimes out there."

    The Celtics lost Kyrie Irving and Al Horford in free agency this offseason. But, they signed both Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter.

  • Pelicans' Brandon Ingram 'pretty close' to resuming basketball workouts Pelicans' Brandon Ingram 'pretty close' to resuming basketball workouts

    Brandon Ingram is almost ready to get back on the court with his new team the New Orleans Pelicans.

    Speaking on Tuesday during formal introductions following his trade from the Los Angeles Lakers, the Pelicans forward revealed he is "pretty close" to resuming basketball workouts.

    Ingram continues to recover from surgery he underwent in March to address a blood clot in his right arm.

    After being moved as part of a package deal for Anthony Davis, Ingram did not give a specific timeline for his return but confirmed he has worked on his shooting form while also participating in ball-handling and passing drills.

    The injury was potentially career-threatening, as former Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh was forced to retire with a similar condition. 

    Ingram missed two games with a shoulder problem before being diagnosed with the blood clot and battled a variety of other ailments last season, including lingering ankle pain.

    The 21-year-old averaged 18.3 points, 3.0 assists and 5.1 rebounds in 52 Lakers games last season.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.