Portland Trailblazers guard CJ McCollum got a glimpse of what goes on at the top of things during the Western Conference Finals.
And despite getting swept, McCollum enjoyed the experience.
On a recent episode of his podcast, The Pullup, McCollum said that it was a good experience to play against a championship caliber team to see how the manage to ‘turn the switch on’ and described other facets of the Warriors’ game and what his Blazers took away from the series to better prepare them for next season.
“I really enjoyed that experience ... obviously, we were swept but the games are much closer than the final score,” McCollum said in his podcast, as provided to Golden State of Mind by Cadence 13. “In the final of the actual series, we led for 102, 203 minutes and they only led about 80 minutes. But as I said during my exit interview, they led at the right time. They made their runs at the right times, those last five minutes... they executed. Guys stepped up and made big shots. They got stops when they needed to. And think that it was a good experience to go through that... to play against a championship caliber team and see exactly what it takes, see how they turn the switch on, how they focus in, how much attention to detail they pay offensive and defensively and the adjustments they made throughout the series. I think it better prepares us for next season.”
As far as his takeaways from his season and postseason, McCollum cites execution and ‘winning the winnable games’ as his lessons.
“I think for us, seeing the importance of winning the games you’re supposed to win.. when you’re up ten, when you’re up 15 during the regular season.. being able to put those teams away, so you can sit the fourth quarter or sit six minutes in the fourth quarter. Then you get to the playoffs and when you’re up 2-0, get up to 3-0, get out of the series faster. I think the best teams in the league get out of the series [faster]. They don’t make the series drag. They don’t take it six or seven games if they don't have to. They get rid of them early, put the pedal to the metal...whether that’d be players locking in more, or coaches understanding more from a rotational standpoint.”
So CJ, that’s how those “at the top of things” stay there.