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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.”

Eastern Conference

Knicks Sign Marcus Morris to One-Year Deal

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Marcus Morris

The New York Knicks have officially signed veteran forward Marcus Morris to a one-year, $15 million deal, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Morris nixed a deal he had in lace with the San Antonio Spurs, a two-year, $20 million contract, and now lands with the Knicks for a more lucrative, yet shorter, deal.

Morris is known for his hard play and consistency, and should provide a versatile element to the roster.

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Eastern Conference

Knicks Sign Reggie Bullock to Re-worked Deal

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The New York Knicks have finalized a new, re-worked, two-year deal with Reggie Bullock, according to SNY’s Ian Begley.

Bullock originally agreed to a two-year, $21 million deal with the team with an option for the second year, but the terms were re-worked due to a medical issue

Despite the hurdles in closing the deal, Bullock’s agent, David Bauman, praised the Knicks for how they navigated the process.

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Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavaliers, Raptors Interested in Dragan Bender

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Dragan Bender

The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors are interested in former Phoenix Suns forward Dragan Bender.

Bender was a major bust with the Suns, who drafted him with the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, but he is still only 21 years old.

Bender can still turn his career around, but he has issues with 3 point shooting and the physicality of the NBA game.

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