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Blazers’ Damian Lillard loves chemistry with CJ McCollum, but knows it takes more to get over hump

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers boast one of the strongest backcourts in the league, but despite the strong link between Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, the first-team All-NBA point man knows it’ll take more than a tight friendship to elevate his team into championship aspirations, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic.

“I think as far as me and CJ, our friendship is so strong that it allows us to play really well together on the court, and we get our job done every night,” said Lillard. “But when you talk about winning the championship and competing in the playoffs against teams like Golden State, Houston and San Antonio and all those guys, it’s a group effort. We’ve all got to be able to count on each other to compete at that level. Our team, we’ve got a lot of guys that care and a lot of guys that work hard. We’ve just got to keep improving.”

The Blazers were bounced out of last season’s playoffs by the sixth-seeded New Orleans Pelicans in an ugly four-game sweep. This was a wake-up call for a Portland team that shined in the latter half of the regular season, only for Lillard and McCollum to be stifled by Jrue Holiday and the Pelicans.

That same Pelicans team went on to lose 4-1 against th eventual champion Golden State Warriors in the next round, which only revealed more questions about Portland’s roster construction.

Rip City didn’t make any major moves in the offseason, which only spells another grueling 82-game run for Lillard and McCollum without the right reinforcements.