Wednesday night was the fifth game of the series between the Blazers and the Warriors in the battle to reach the Western Conference Finals, but you wouldn’t have known it by looking at this upstart Portland team. The stern focus and grit visible in the faces of their young players seemed to fade away as they were all smiles in their pregame warmups.

They weren’t expected to be here.

They were facing a near impossible challenge, but they clearly wanted to have fun and enjoy the moment.

“Coming into the season there were low expectations of us,” ” said C.J. McCollom about the mindset of the team coming into the season. “We made a lot of goals. We wanted to make the playoffs, we wanted to compete in the playoffs, and we felt like it was going to be a learning process.”

Continue reading this article and my interview over at