After the Blazers came back from 17 down to knock out the favored Nuggets, Portland hero C.J. McCollum told reporters that his 37 points, 9 rebounds, and game-saving chase-down block was fueled in part by a text from his brother Errick: “He told me not to settle, told me to get to the midrange, get to the floater, get to the rim as much as possible.”
This is good—if banal—advice in general, and even more so yesterday, when Portland and Denver shot a combined 6-for-45 from behind the arc, making the game basically unwatchable until the fourth quarter. But it evidently had a little extra oomph coming from Errick, who’s four years older than C.J. and currently playing in Russia’s United League playoffs with Unics Kazan.
Throughout these NBA playoffs, the elder McCollum has been the Blazers’ best hype man, tweeting dozens of times per game and responding to a mix of fans and detractors in between. He offers analysis:
He beefs with the officials:
Mostly, though, he offers a seemingly endless stream of praise for his younger brother.
Kazan is 10 hours ahead of Portland time, which means the Sunday afternoon game started at 10:30 p.m. for Errick, who is probably supposed to be sleeping normal hours as his second-seeded Unics Kazan gears up for a playoff game against three-seed Khimki Moscow next week. It’s good payback, though: Last year, the Pelicans’ humiliating first-round sweep ended C.J.’s season so early that he had time to fly to Turkey to see Errick play while commentators back home called for the Blazers to break up the backcourt of McCollum and Damian Lillard if they ever wanted to make it past the first round. This year, C.J. told reporters, he won’t be able to make it.
Errick won’t be able to get to the Western Conference finals either, but he’s already pumped for his kid brother to take on the Warriors. Like most Blazers fans, he’s not overly rosy about the team’s chances.
Game 1 starts at 4:00 a.m. Wednesday, Kazan time.