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Blazers’ Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum Discuss How Prior Playoff Eliminations Have Changed Them

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The Portland Trail Blazers are no stranger to quick exits from the NBA Playoffs, but stars Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are using those experiences to help them this postseason.

And so far, it’s working, as they have a commanding 3-1 lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder in their first round Western Conference Playoff series.

“We’re a lot more mature than we were in past years,” McCollum said, according to ESPN’s Royce Young.

“We can handle adversity. We understood what we wanted to accomplish tonight and we didn’t want anything to get in the way. Multiple times we had discussions about not saying anything to anyone. If they don’t have a black-and-gray jersey on, don’t talk to him. Talk to our team. Don’t talk to the refs, don’t talk to the other team. Execute our game plan and let’s get out of here with the win.”

Portland has risen above the trash talk and antics of Oklahoma City to take control of the series.

“We don’t focus on doubters, we focus on ourselves,” Lillard said. “We accept the responsibility of our past two playoff performances and we moved on. I think that’s one of the biggest and one of the best things that we did for ourselves, was not hold on to it. We moved on and we’re having a better run now. We just got to finish it.”

New Orleans Pelicans

Pelicans’ Zion Williamson Expected Back Mid-December

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Zion Williamson

New Orleans Pelicans’ Zion Williamson has yet to make his official debut, but all indications seem to point the rookie to be ready to take the court in mid-December.

According to TNT NBA analyst Reggie Miller, Williamson is reportedly on schedule with his rehab and is “definitely” going to be back next month, which is encouraging news for the Pelicans.

Williamson underwent back surgery back in October.

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Charlotte Hornets

Hornets Interested in Andre Drummond

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The Charlotte Hornets are interested in one particular big man during 2020 free agency, should he be available.

According to Havy.com’s Sean Deveney, the Hornets are expected to pursue Detroit Pistons’ center Andre Drummond if he reaches the free agent market after the season.

Armed with significant cap space, the Hornets are poised to be serious competition for the Pistons when it comes to Drummond and a long-term deal.

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Eastern Conference

Magic’s Nikola Vucevic Out with Ankle Injury

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The Orlando Magic will be without star center Nikola Vucevic for the next four weeks due to a right ankle injury, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Vucevic was injured during the second quarter of Wednesday’s game against the Toronto Raptos when he turned his ankle during a fall.

The loss of Vucevic will be tough for the Magic, who are expected to turn to Khem Birch and Mo Bamba during his absence.

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