That's because, until Saturday's dramatic 126-122 play-in victory against the Grizzlies, any mention of 'McCollum' and 'back' carried a painful and negative meaning for the Portland Trail Blazers' crucial shotgun rider and No 2 punch to Damian Lillard's No 1.
For much of his time here in the NBA restart, McCollum winced whenever that part of his anatomy - a fractured vertebrae is the diagnosis - was raised in conversation and especially when it was pushed on the floor.
But now? Perhaps the basketball gods are ready to have mercy, not only on McCollum, but the Blazers and their chances of showing some staying power in their upcoming first-round playoff match-up with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Blazers seemed poised to แบล็คแจ็ค power past the young and inexperienced Grizzlies for the No 8 spot in the Western Conference no matter what; Lillard's scorching performances of late virtually guaranteed that, and Memphis needed to win two games anyway. However, the Blazers will now strut into their series with the Lakers because of what McCollum showed on Saturday when he was bouncy and rolling in the fourth quarter of a tight game.
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