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Video: Blazers’ CJ McCollum cites similar background and friendship with Damian Lillard as to why they play so well together

CJ McCollum, Damian Lillard, Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers have one of the best backcourts in the NBA in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Rip City’s star tandem showed exactly why on Tuesday night, as they combined for 62 points in the Blazers’ 114-94 Game 2 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Asked about why they play so well together, McCollum cited their similar backgrounds and friendship as to why they feed off of each other so well:

CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard both had relatively similar paths heading into the NBA. Both came from under-the-radar programs in college.  McCollum spent four seasons in Lehigh, while Lillard played until his junior year at Weber State.

The two entered the league with polished games after playing multiple years in college. The Blazers selected Lillard sixth overall in 2012, and McCollum went with the 10th pick the year after.

While Lillard immediately made an impact in his debut campaign, winning Rookie of the Year in 2012-13, McCollum struggled to crack the rotation in his first two seasons in the league with then-guard Wesley Matthews ahead of him.

Nevertheless, the two have since blossomed as not only one of the best one-two punches in the NBA, but as close friends as well. Both of them look like they genuinely love playing alongside each other.

CJ McCollum led Portland in their convincing Game 2 victory with 33 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, and he shot 12-of-22 from the field. Lillard, likewise, had an all-around performance with 29 points, four rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks.

The renowned backcourt continued their impressive play so far in the 2019 postseason to give Portland a 2-0 series edge over Oklahoma City.