The Portland Trail Blazers have exceeded all expectations this season. Most thought they would be the bottom feeders of the Western Conference. Instead, they are fighting for a playoff spot. A lot of the credit goes to their backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, who have become one of the league’s better one-two punches.
Many feel the McCollum/Lillard backcourt only trails the Splash Brothers (Klay Thompson and Steph Curry) as the league’s best guard duo. The Portland pairing average approximately 46 points and 11 assists per contest. These numbers are eerily similar to Toronto’s All-Star combination of Kyle Lowry and DeMar Derozan, who also approach the 46 points per game mark.
Lillard and McCollum are going to break down opposing defenders. According to NBA.com, they have run a combined 192 miles on the offensive end, that’s tops in all of the NBA amongst backcourt duos. McCollum is one of the better players at moving without the ball, while Lillard is one of the league’s most active ball handlers.
It’s a shame the both Lillard and McCollum were shut out of the 2016 NBA All-Star game. Both were putting up exceptional statistics. However, the two didn’t let that affect their on-court play. During an interview with CSNNW’s Jason Quick, McCollum believes the two can keep up their momentum, and explains how lethal himself and Lillard are to opposing defenses.
“I don’t see why we can’t sustain it,” McCollum said. “With us, you have to pick your poison. You can’t double team us, you can’t … I’m not going to talk about it. They will see for themselves. They will see.”
You can expect the two Trail Blazers to remain with the organization for quite some time. Lillard signed a five-year, $120 million extension with Portland that keeps him with through the 2020-21 season. And it’s expected that the Blazers will look to lock up McCollum before he hits the market in 2017 as a restricted free agent.
McCollum and Lillard’s relationship extends beyond the game of basketball as well. The two are great friends off the court, and you see that chemistry nighly. Whether if they are outscoring their opponents or out running them, the McCollum-Lillard duo is hard to match in the today’s game.