If I told you before tonight’s game that a Portland team without Damian Lillard and Hassan Whiteside would be a three-pointer away from a fourth quarter lead against the best team in the Eastern Conference, you would have called me crazy. However, that’s exactly what happened.
The Blazers were forced into a starting five consisting of CJ McCollum, Gary Trent Jr., Rodney Hood, Carmelo Anthony and Anthony Tolliver. Early on, Portland struggled; down 17-6. However, throughout the game, the Blazers rallied to get within 10-12 points.
Then, in the fourth quarter they got within two. However, a win just wasn’t meant to be.
McCollum took a long three off a fast break, but the shot missed and Milwaukee responded with back-to-back threes to make it 123-115. The closest Portland got the rest of the way was within six a few times.
McCollum led the Lillard-less Blazers with 37 points on 15-of-29 shooting and 10 assists. He also had six boards. Three of the other starters scored double digits, including Anthony (18), Trent Jr. (13) and Hood, who was a perfect 5/5 with 11 points.
Off the bench, Labissiere was great with 22 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in just 28 minutes.
Luckily for Portland, the last two games of the six-game road trip are against two sub-.500 teams–Cleveland (4-10) on Saturday, and (5-10) Chicago on Monday.
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