CHICAGO (AP) — If C.J. McCollum finds a shot he likes, he won’t hesitate to take it.
McCollum proved it Monday night when he scored 25 of his 32 points after halftime, including the tiebreaking basket with 56.5 seconds remaining in overtime, and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Chicago Bulls 124-120.
“I just tried to make plays,” McCollum said. “If I can get a good shot, take it. If not, make the right play. I think guys did a great job of making the game easier for me. If I can get 30 good shots, I’ll take 30 more. If I can get 40 good shots ... I’ll take 40.”
Al-Farouq Aminu added a season-high 24 points and Evan Turner also had his season best with 22 for Portland, which was without leading scorer Damian Lilliard for a fifth straight game.
Kris Dunn scored 22 points and Nikola Mirotic had 18 points off the bench for Chicago, which blew a late lead for a second straight game. The Bulls lost for only the fourth time in 14 games since Mirotic returned to the lineup.
Timberwolves 114, Lakers 96: MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A mix of younger players and veterans is working quite nicely for the streaking Minnesota Timberwolves.
Jimmy Butler scored 28 points and Minnesota started fast and held off the struggling Los Angeles Lakers 114-96 on Monday night.
Karl-Anthony Towns recorded his 30th double-double of the season with 16 points and 13 rebounds to help Minnesota win for the seventh time in eight games and 10th in 13.
“We’re striving to be good, we just got to continue to keep growing, continue to be great and don’t get bored with the process,” Towns said. “We’re finding some success right now. Don’t get too comfortable with it.”
Nets 98, Magic 95: NEW YORK (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets had heard enough about not being able to win on the second night of back-to-back games.
Allen Crabbe was tired of hearing his defensive approach questioned.
With the game on the line late in the fourth quarter on Monday night, they collectively answered.
Rookie Jarrett Allen had a career-high 16 points, Crabbe added 15 points and blocked a potential tying shot, and the Nets edged the Orlando Magic 98-95.
Caris LeVert also had 15 points, while DeMarre Carroll chipped in 14 points, 10 rebounds and the tiebreaking free throw with 34.5 seconds remaining. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 13 for the Nets, who opened up the new year with a win after closing out 2017 with a 1-4 road trip.
Raptors 131, Bucks 127: TORONTO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan spent his New Year’s Day watching basketball history and making some, too.
DeRozan scored a franchise-record 52 points, and the Toronto Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks 131-127 in overtime on Monday night, matching the team record with their 12th consecutive home victory.
DeRozan said he spent some time earlier in the day watching the final few minutes of Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, in which Hall of Famer Michael Jordan beat the Utah Jazz with a late jump shot, giving the Chicago Bulls their sixth title in eight seasons.
“I remember being a kid and wishing to be in moments like that,” DeRozan said. “When you come out here and you’re in those moments, you’ve got to make the best out of them.”
DeRozan sure did, becoming the third player in Raptors history to score 50 or more in a single game. The others are Vince Carter and Terrence Ross, who each had 51.