Blazers guard McCollum nets 50 in 3 quarters
McCollum had 28 points in the first quarter alone, a franchise record and the highest first-quarter scoring performance in the NBA this season. Entering Wednesday’s home game, he had scored more than 28 points total in 30 of his 309 career games.
“I don’t know what the right word is, but a very impressive outing for CJ,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts told reporters afterward. “What he did in the first quarter was amazing. It was fun to sit back and watch that.”
The 50 points were nine shy of Portland’s record set by Damian Lillard last season. McCollum becomes the seventh member of the Blazers’ 50-point club, joining Lillard, Damon Stoudamire, Brandon Roy, Andre Miller, Clyde Drexler and Geoff Petrie.
“The guys did a good job of getting me open,” McCollum said. “I had some good looks early in motion offense. I was able to hit some pullups and 3s. Once I saw the ball go in, I knew it was going to be a good night.”
Portland shot 74 percent in the first quarter, paced by McCollum, who made four 3-pointers in the period and finished with six in the game.
It was McCollum’s first career 50-point game. He finished 18-for-25 from the field before sitting out the fourth quarter. It was the 10th 50-point performance in Blazers history.
“I’m not into chasing records, man. I just want to win,” McCollum said. “Even throughout the game, I looked up, and I was like, I can get 40. And then Ed [Davis] was like, ‘No, you need 50.’ And [Lillard] was like, ‘Get 50.’ So I was like, ‘OK, I’ll get 50 if you guys want me to.”’
His last two points on the night came on free throws. He was 8-for-8 from the line.
“I tried to draw some contact. Once I got to the line, a couple of teammates told me, ‘Don’t choke, and go be great,'” McCollum said. “Once the first one went in, I knew the second one would go in based on repetition.”
After he sat down in the third quarter, McCollum smiled when the crowd chanted, “We want CJ!”
“I was thinking, ‘I hope I don’t have to go back in,”’ McCollum said. “That means we’re not playing the way we should be playing. There was a lot of love tonight, and I appreciate it.”
That was a sentiment shared by Stotts.
“Too risky,” he said. “We were up 25, and I would have left him in to get 50, but 50 is a good number.”
When asked how he would celebrate his big night, McCollum said, “Oh, we’re gonna have a lotta pinot tonight.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.