Chris Haynes 1 on 1 with CJ McCollum
LAS VEGAS –The Portland Trail Blazers dropped their second straight Summer League game in as many days in a 81-63 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
All afternoon CJ McCollum was pressured, trapped and denied in an effort to keep the ball out of his hands to force other guys to beat them.
When he passed the ball, shot attempts quickly followed and they weren't falling. That was the common theme in the second quarter when the Lakers went on a heart-stomping 17-0 run to outscored them in the quarter 25-10.
That run basically won the Lakers the game as they never trailed from that point on. It's apparent that if McCollum doesn't have the rock, the other team's chances of winning go up tremendously.
“I'm not too concerned with teams trapping because this is Summer League,” McCollum, who scored a game-high 15 points to go along with five boards and five assists, told CSNNW.com. “They're not going to be able to do that when I'm playing with LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum. I'm just going to take what they give me.”
Defense, just as the first game, did not exist. The rotations from the strong side and weakside were continuously tardy. They coughed-up the ball 19 times and found themselves on the wrong end of two-on-ones too often.
And to make matters worse, the Trail Blazers shot 38 percent from the field. They shot two percent higher than the Lakers, but the turnovers that translated to them giving up 27 points eliminated their edge in the shooting percentage category.
“Sometimes offensively when you're not making shots, you're not playing as hard defensively,” head coach Nate Tibbetts said. “And that's one thing we have to continue to do a better job of.”
There's more bad news.
Will Barton suffered a right knee strain after a Lakers player landed on him in the third quarter. Barton fell to the ground in excruciating pain. He had to be helped off the court and unto the locker room.
After the game, Barton said he was still in pain and is not sure when he will return to action.
“It hurts, man,” Barton said. “I don't plan on getting an MRI or anything like that unless I have to, but it hurts. I'll just see what it feels like tomorrow and go from there.”
Victor Claver exited the first game with a right hip contusion and he did not play today. He said he's feeling better, but not quite there yet.
“It's tough to see guys go down, but we have to find a way to regroup,” McCollum said. “Guys have to step up.”
Thomas Robinson improved his play in the second half, finishing with seven points and a game-high 10 rebounds. The athletic forward showed a nice outside touch from 20-feet in the latter part of the game.
The thing with him is going to be consistency.
“I'm still trying to play my way in shape,” he said. “Once I get there, I think I'll be more consistent.”
Meyers Leonard provided 12 points five boards and two blocks. Allen Crabbe, who started in place of Claver, added seven points.
The Trail Blazers' next game is Tuesday against the Chicago Bulls at 5:00 pm. It will be the final game before the seedings are posted. With players dropping like flies and you add the fact that they aren't playing up to their level of expectations, doesn't bode well for their playoff chances.
“We have to continue to stay the course and it's going to take a minute,” Tibbett said. “We're seeing some good things, but we need to get better.”