Written by by Pasham Reddy, CNN
Four days before the 2018 All-Star game, Portland Trail Blazers star CJ McCollum led his team to its first win of the season, an 86-80 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
The 6’2″ 6’3″ shooting guard led the way with 29 points and five three-pointers, increasing his scoring streak to 43 consecutive games. Portland currently sits at 11-42.
“What a performance. Credit to CJ. Every time we needed a shot, he made a shot. He set the tone for us, both on offense and defense. He was very aggressive,” said Blazers head coach Terry Stotts.
“He wanted to be aggressive. He set us up to be aggressive. We stepped up. I don’t know, I don’t think he’s thought about anything other than himself. It’s sort of his role now to lead.”
McCollum also kept fans occupied by throwing a few alley-oops during the game, including to two-time NBA All-Star center LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 18 points and 11 rebounds.
“I’ve never made a dunk like that, ever. He definitely helped with that. When we executed the plays correctly, he helped us out,” said Aldridge.
This is not the first time McCollum’s electricity has been ignited in front of an NBA crowd.
A promising career
McCollum has been relatively stagnant since becoming a free agent after the 2016 season.
But after joining the Blazers in a 2015 offseason trade, he became a star within the team. He also joined the national stage when he was selected in the first round of the 2014 draft by the Philadelphia 76ers.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that CJ is a better player now than he was then,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.