The Portland Trail Blazers dominated the fourth quarter and defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-110 on Saturday night. Rookie C.J. McCollum registered a career-high 19 points off the bench for Portland. McCollum shot 6-of-12 from the field and 3-of-6 from three point land. His previous high was 10 points on Jan. 11 against the Boston Celtics.
McCollum received a bump in minutes because Mo Williams was unable to play due to family reasons. It was a battle of 2013 first round picks as McCollum bested Shabazz Muhammad who also posted his career high with 12 points. Muhammad was out there for 17 minutes because Kevin Love did not play because of a left quad contusion. Minnesota also was paced by a career-high from Ricky Rubio as he put 25 points on 19 shots.
As for McCollum, he has been playing catch-up this season as he was forced to sit the first 35 games with a foot injury. Since his debut, he hasn’t been granted a lot of minutes from Blazers head coach Terry Stotts since Portland had played so well to start the season. With the added minutes in this game, McCollum made scoring look easy as he is proving his doubters wrong that he couldn’t score at the next level due to lack of size. The 6-foot-4 combo guard out of Lehigh does not possess elite level athleticism, but makes up for it with fundamentals and a smooth shooting stroke. He will still need to work on finishing at the basket as he had multiple layup attempts sent back. Still, Portland should be thrilled to have another capable player in their rotation to address their weakness of depth.