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C.J. McCollum Q&A: Blazers glad to end 10-game playoff losing streak

PORTLAND, Ore — C.J. McCollum was a big reason the Portland TrailBlazers ended a 10-game playoff losing streak with a 104-99 victory over the Thunder on Sunday in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series. McCollum finished with 24 points, including 16 first-half points on 5-of-10 shooting. He answered some questions after the game:

On ending the Blazers’ playoff losing streak: “It’s good to get a win at home. Our goal isn’t to win one game, but we want to take advantage of this home-court advantage. I think we played well, a lot of things that we can improve upon. I think last year was a good experience for us, we learned a lot of things from it. Now we know what it takes to win here at home and we’re up for the challenge.”

On his trash talk with OKC’s Terrance Ferguson that resulted in a double technical foul: “Whatever it takes to get our team going. This is the playoffs, four games away from elimination, so for me, like I said before. We’re wearing white jerseys, so I’m on the white team. Say something to me, I’ll say something back, but we’re just playing basketball, so it’s all fun. I don’t think it was technical worthy. Refs trying to keep control of the game and they did.”

On defending the Thunder’s transition offense: “I think we were up-and-down tonight. We had a good first quarter, didn’t turn the ball over too much. Then second quarter they had 12 points in transition, so they were able to get out and run on our turnovers, and obviously Russ, if he gets a rebound, he’s pushing, if he gets a steal, they’re pushing, so we’ve got to load up.”

On Enes Kanter’s defensive performance since he came to Portland: “I think he works, that’s the biggest thing. He puts the effort forward, he communicates, he moved his feet tonight. Obviously, Russ (Westbrook) coming downhill, PG (Paul George) coming downhill, (Dennis) Schroder coming downhill, those are tough covers for any big man in the league, and I thought he held his ground well. He held his ground against Steven Adams and showed his versatility.”

Related Photos
Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, right, drives against Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams, front left, during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Portland, Ore., Sunday, April 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Dipaola)

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, right, drives against Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams, front left, during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Portland, Ore., Sunday, April 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Dipaola)

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-250bae6d327304973cbf793be7f83e6a.jpg" alt="Photo - Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, right, drives against Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams, front left, during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Portland, Ore., Sunday, April 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Dipaola)" title="Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, right, drives against Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams, front left, during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Portland, Ore., Sunday, April 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Dipaola)"><figcaption>Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, right, drives against Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams, front left, during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Portland, Ore., Sunday, April 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Dipaola)</figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›

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