Wed, Jan 03, 2018 - Page 16 News List

C.J. McCollum leads Trail Blazers over Bulls


C.J. McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers, right, scores against the Chicago Bulls in their NBA game in Chicago, Illinois, on Monday.

Photo: AP

If C.J. McCollum finds a shot he likes, he will not hesitate to take it.

McCollum on Monday proved it when he scored 25 of his 32 points after halftime, including the tiebreaking basket with 56.5 seconds remaining in overtime as the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Chicago Bulls 124-120.

“I just tried to make plays,” McCollum said. “If I can get a good shot, take it. If not, make the right play. I think guys did a great job of making the game easier for me. If I can get 30 good shots, I’ll take 30 more. If I can get 40 good shots... I’ll take 40.”

Al-Farouq Aminu added a season-high 24 points and Evan Turner also had his season best with 22 for Portland, who were without leading scorer Damian Lilliard for a fifth straight game.

Kris Dunn scored 22 points and Nikola Mirotic had 18 points off the bench for Chicago, who blew a late lead for a second straight game.

The Bulls lost for only the fourth time in 14 games since Mirotic returned to the lineup.

Though he missed his first seven shots, McCollum was pivotal as Portland rallied from a six-point deficit in the final 2 minutes, 30 seconds of the fourth quarter.

McCollum scored the final four points in regulation to tie the score at 112-112 and answered after Lauri Markannen, who finished with 19 points, made a jumper from the corner that tied it at 120-120 with 1:14 left in overtime.

McCollum then made his short floater and added a pair of late free throws.

“[McCollum] is a shooter, he’s a scorer and you’ve got to have that mentality,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “What I was pleased most about with C.J. was his assists. In the fourth quarter and overtime he made good decisions.”

Led by Bobby Portis and Mirotic, the Bulls’ bench helped them overcome a sluggish start.

Each had nine points in a second quarter in which Chicago’s reserves outscored Portland’s 18-7, but both were on the bench for the final 7:30 of the fourth quarter and all of overtime.

Portis finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

“I just thought with [Jusuf] Nurkic out there we had to find a way to keep him off the glass,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s too big and strong out there. I felt like we needed Robin [Lopez], who also was playing well. The last two nights we haven’t gotten the job done. It hurts, it stings, especially after having the seven in a row where we did close out a lot of those close games.”

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