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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.”

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NBA Officially Moves Up Start Of Free Agency

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Adam Silver

The National Basketball Association has officially moved up the start of the free agency period, according to an official press release issues on Friday.

The NBA has moved the start of free agency up 6 hours earlier, and will now begin at 6pm EST on June 30th.

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Eastern Conference

76ers’ James Ennis Opting Out of Contract

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James Ennis

Philadelphia 76ers swingman James Ennis is turning down his player option for the 2019-2020 season, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Ennis, 28, will hit the free agent market on July 1st after posting 7.9 ppg, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game this season.

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Denver Nuggets

Nuggets’ President Tim Connelly Remaining with Franchise

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Tim Connelly

Denver Nuggets president Tim Connelly will remain with the Nuggets following an interview with the Washington Wizards, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Connelly met with Wizards owner Ted Leonsis on Friday to talk about the President gig with the team following the dismissal of longtime president Ernie Grunfeld, who had a 16 year tenure with the cluib.

Leonsis apparently made a strong offer to Connelly, but the Nuggets convinced him to stay.

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