Blazers Analyst: Lillard/McCollum Relationship Unique

Travis Demers explained why Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are a rarity in the modern NBA

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
May 02, 2019 - 9:28 am
Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard C.J. McCollum

USA Today Images


In the modern NBA, it’s rare for two teammates – especially two stars – to play together for an extended period of time. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, however, are the exception.

And it shows on the court.

“They just know where each other is going to be,” Blazers radio play-by-play voice Travis Demers said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “This is the sixth year those guys have been playing with each other. There’s such a flow to what they do. They always seem to know where each other is going to be.”

Which is one reason why Lillard and McCollum averaged 25.8 and 21.0 points, respectively, this season.

“Damian is the clear leader,” Demers said. “Everybody on the team looks to him. C.J. made a comment a couple of weeks ago after Game 1 against Oklahoma City that they don’t panic as a team. He used the analogy of when you’re on an airplane and you’re going through a rocky patch and there’s really bad turbulence, you look to the staff of the airplane to see if they’re freaking out – and if they’re not, you know you’re good. That’s what they look to Damian Lillard for.”

Lillard, of course, hit a series-winning three at the buzzer to beat the Thunder in Game 5. He scored 39 points in a losing effort against the Nuggets in Game 1 of their second-round series but helped Portland win Game 2, 97-90, on Wednesday.

“I think the confidence he has in himself and his teammates just makes it easier for everybody to do their job,” Jones said. “But those two together, when Damian is having an off night – and tonight was an example fo that – he’ll give the ball up. He’ll give it up to C.J. when he’s playing well, and you don’t see stars defer like that. You certainly didn’t see it in the Oklahoma City series. I think that’s what makes that relationship so unique.”

Click below to listen to Demers’ interview in its entirety.