CJ McCollum

Trail Blazers’ McCollum, Kings’ Len fined for altercation

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NEW YORK — Portland guard CJ McCollum was fined $20,000 and Sacramento forward/center Alex Len $15,000 by the NBA on Sunday for an

Saturday night in the Kings’ victory at Portland.

Both players were given technical fouls with 8:50 remaining in the third quarter.

McCollum was fined for shoving Len and attempting to escalate the altercation. Len was fined for shoving McCollum.

Blazers’ CJ McCollum, Kings’ Alex Len get into shoving match, earn technicals (VIDEO)

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CJ McCollum was moving up a weight class or two in this showdown, but he was not backing down.

Early in the third quarter of the Kings blowing out the Blazers in a critical game in the chase for the eighth seed in the West, Portland’s McCollum got into it with Sacramento’s Alex Len. What started as a screen was fueled by frustration and turned into more.

McCollum acted like he expected to be sent to an early shower (he was collecting high fives on the bench), but after the officials reviewed it they called an offensive foul on Len and double technicals. That’s it.

Sacramento won 123-111 behind 27 from Bogdan Bogdanovic. McCollum may have wanted to get tossed to avoid watching the fourth quarter of that game. The win keeps the Kings 3.5 games back of the Grizzlies for the eighth seed in the West, it drops Portland 4.5 back,

 

Watch Aron Baynes score career-high 37 points, lift Suns past Trail Blazers

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PHOENIX — Aron Baynes scored a career-high 37 points on a career-high nine 3-pointers, Dario Saric added 24 points and the Phoenix Suns beat the Portland Trail Blazers 127-117 on Friday night to snap a four-game losing streak.

Baynes was 9 of 14 from long distance and 12 of 23 overall. He also had 16 rebounds.

The huge night came one game after the big Australian didn’t even play against the Toronto Raptors because coach Monty Williams didn’t like the matchup.

“It can be funny in the NBA like that,” Baynes said. “Night to night it can be completely different. One thing we’ve done well as a team is a next-man-up mentality. If you go out there and play within Monty’s system, he usually puts you in places to succeed.”

Phoenix never trailed and made 19 3-pointers. It was a much-needed win for the Suns after they had lost four straight home games to hurt their already fading playoff hopes.

The 6-foot-10 Baynes is an eight-year NBA veteran but almost never shot 3-pointers until last season. He made it a big part of his game when he joined the Suns this season and was hitting them at a 33% rate coming into Friday.

He came out firing against the Blazers, hitting five from beyond the arc in the first quarter, which already beat his career high of four, He was especially good from his favorite spot at the top of the key and his nine 3-pointers tied a single-game franchise record.

By the end of the night, the crowd was screaming for him to shoot every time he touched the ball beyond the arc.

“Exactly how I drew it up this morning,” Williams said laughing. “Aron, go for 37. Nine threes. He got the guys going when he started dropping a few of them. Then we started running a few plays for him.”

Devin Booker added 23 points and 12 assists for the Suns.

CJ McCollum led Portland with 25 points, and Damian Lillard had 24. Hassan Whiteside added 23 points and 20 rebounds. The Blazers are among the teams fighting with the Suns for the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs. They’re 3 1/2 games behind eighth-place Memphis. The Suns are six games back.

Whiteside said the Blazers simply didn’t have an answer for Baynes.

“He had a career night, bro. It happens,” Whiteside said. “He took 23 shots. He got hot. Once he hit a step back over (Lillard), I knew he was feeling good.”

Said Blazers coach Terry Stotts: “You expect him to make some threes but you don’t expect him to make that many.”

The Suns led 56-33 midway through the second quarter but Portland responded with a big run to close the gap to 67-58 by halftime. Baynes had 22 points by the break, making six 3-pointers. McCollum had 16 points for the Blazers.

Portland’s Mario Hezonja fined $25,000 for grabbing referee’s arm

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Trail Blazer guard CJ McCollum didn’t like the call, and he stormed over to referee Kevin Scott yelling. That was going to earn McCollum a technical.

Mario Hezonja tried to stop Scott from giving the tech so he could argue his case, but to do so Mario Hezonja reached out and grabbed Scott’s arm to stop him from blowing the whistle.

Players cannot touch an official like that, and it earned Hezonja a $25,000 fine from the league.

Hezonja had to know that was coming. It’s just an expensive reminder not to grab a referee.

CJ McCollum is ‘taking a break’ from signing autographs due to coronavirus

Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images
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There have been two cases of the novel coronavirus found in the state of Oregon. Neighboring Washington has had two deaths and 12 reported cases of the virus. Another Oregon neighbor, California, has 28 cases of the strain of coronavirus known as COVAD-19.

That’s enough for the Trail Blazers’ CJ McCollum to start taking precautions — and that means no autographs for a while.

The NBA itself is consulting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to do its part to help prevent the spread of the disease. However, there are no current plans to postpone or cancel any NBA games due to the outbreak.

That has happened overseas. The Chinese Basketball Association season has been postponed (leaving the American players there in limbo and not getting checks). FIBA had basketball games in Asia played in empty stadiums. In Italy, soccer games were postponed, and in France some were played in mostly-empty stadiums. The Tokyo Marathon was limited to elite runners only, and fans were encouraged to stay home, not come out and cheer.

In the United States, there have been relatively few cases — 89 officially as of March 1 and two deaths — and the outbreak has yet to alter day-to-day life the same way as in other nations.

Globally there are currently 89,000 known cases — more than 80,000 of those in China — resulting in 3,000 deaths. Scientists estimate 80 percent of the people who get the virus have very mild cases, however, the disease can lead to hospitalization and be life-threatening for some people, particularly the elderly or people with respiratory issues. The mortality rate of the disease is estimated at two percent.