Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers go with big lineup, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic put on a show

In the second of three scrimmage games, Portland was without point guard Damian Lillard, who is dealing with inflammation in his left foot.

Prior to Sunday’s scrimmage against Toronto, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said Lillard had an x-ray on his left foot. The good news: the x-rays came back negative. Stotts added that he is ‘hopeful’ Lillard will be able to play in Portland’s final scrimmage on Tuesday.   

With Lillard out, Coach Stotts went with a big lineup Sunday:

The Blazers and Raptors were all tied up at 25 at the end of first quarter after CJ McCollum carried the Blazers with nine points.

For this being just a scrimmage game it was still an exciting brand of basketball, especially witnessing a very active McCollum and Nurkic. 

But, the Raptors made the Blazers pay from behind the arc, on the glass and from the charity stripe.

FINAL BOX SCORE: Raptors 110, Trail Blazers 104

Here are three quick takeaways from Portland’s second scrimmage:

1. Hello, big Blazers lineup

Sunday marked the first time the Trail Blazers started the twin towers of Hassan Whiteside and Jusuf Nurkic.

Whiteside sat out with an Achilles strain in the first scrimmage, but in his NBA restart debut Sunday, he proved that he has a soft touch around the rim.

Between Whiteside showing off his jumper and McCollum getting his teammates involved, Portland got off to a good start.

The Blazers new frontline of a combination of Whiteside, Jusuf Nurkic, and Zach Collins made the Raptors work in the paint.  

And even though Sunday’s results don’t matter, it was obvious that Nurk’s competitive nature cannot be tamed.

Nurkic and Serge Ibaka exchanged words and a few shoves midway through the second quarter, which seemed to ignite Nurkic, particularly on the defensive end. 

Whiteside and Collins, who came off the bench, were both limited to under 22 minutes of action. In his limited time, Collins showed his patience on the offensive end.

As for rookie forward Nassir Little (concussion), he did not play Sunday, but coach Stotts said prior to the scrimmage that, «Nassir is doing better.»

2. Raptors have success from long distance

With Whiteside, Nurkic, and Collins — and two of them in the game at all times through three quarters — those three, as one would imagine, clog up the paint.

With the big lineup, Toronto took a three-ball approach and it worked.

The Raptors shot 19 out of their first 24 shots from three. To end the game, Toronto went 17-of-44 from deep.

But their success from deep isn’t surprising.

Before the season was suspended, the Raptors ranked sixth in the league in three-point shooting as a team at 37.1 percent.

Toronto took over in the third quarter with their continued hot three-point shooting and their ability to cash in from the free throw line.

3.The McCollum Show

CJ McCollum scored 11 points in the second quarter as the Blazers shot 44 percent for the half as a team. But, McCollum wasn’t just showing off his usual mid-range and long-range game, he also proved he can be the facilitator when called upon.

Up Next: The Blazers face the Thunder in Portland’s third and final scrimmage Tuesday before tipping off their eight seeding games on Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Be sure to check back throughout the rest of the day and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!

Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers go with big lineup, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic put on a show originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest