11 Jan A Rare Clerical Error Could Haunt The Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers dropped their January 6, 2016 game to the Los Angeles Clippers 109-98 behind Chris Paul’s 21 points and 19 assists. But that wasn’t the story of that game as one key player was conspicuously absent from the Blazers’ regular rotation:
Third year guard C.J. McCollum was surprisingly not dressed to play on Wednesday and it wasn’t because he had an injury. The former 10th pick of the 2013 NBA draft is one of the most improved players of the current season. His current scoring average of 20.9 PPG (thru 37 games) is a remarkable +14.1 improvement versus last season and .442 FG is the highest in his three year stint with the Blazers. His rise to the starting line-up and increase in scoring has made him one of the top choices for Most Improver Player award this season ( if the trend continues).
But why did C.J. McCollum sit out that January 6, 2016 game if he wasn’t injured?
A Clerical Error
Clerical error forces Blazers to play without CJ McCollum https://t.co/nv6s3mfI2x
— CJ McCollum Hub (@CJMcCollumHub) January 7, 2016
According to the Portland Trail Blazers PR team, it was a “clerical error” which forced McCollum out of the game against the L.A. Clippers. McCollum’s name is next to that of teammate Luis Montero in the alphabetical list of players on the Blazers’ team. The team added that their representative inadvertently circled the wrong name on the line up sheet.
An NBA team submits a line-up sheet before the start of the game. Because the Blazers have 15 players in their line-up, two of those names had to be put on the inactive list as only 13 players are allowed to be active for a game. Instead of Montero, McCollum’s name was put on the inactive list. The sheet was signed by coach Terry Stotts but he also missed the error. As a result, the Blazers second leading scorer was forced to wear a coat and tie to the game instead.
What if they played McCollum?
If the Blazers insisted on playing McCollum, they would have been assessed a technical foul and McCollum still wouldn’t have been allowed to play. That’s what happened to the Charlotte Bobcats in 2007 with Jeff McInnis and with the Washington Wizards in 2010 with Roger Mason. But the case of the Blazers is different because McCollum could have made a real difference.
If McCollum suited up against the Clippers, the Blazers could have won that game given his scoring average. And yes, the Clippers’ winning margin was 11 points and C.J. McCollum has scored at least 12 points in all but the first game of the 2016 season. Add that up and it could really have been a win for the Blazers.
That’s water under the bridge now but….
Just One Game But….
Sure, the loss was just one in the 82 games the Blazers will play this season. But remember during the 2014 NBA Playoffs that the Rockets and Blazers ended the season with an identical 54-28 record and tied for the 4th best record in the Western Conference. However, the Rockets grabbed home court advantage by virtue of winning their season series. It was a good thing Damian Lillard hit that game winner in Game 6, else the series would have returned to Space City for a Game 7.
Unfortunately the 2016 Blazers aren’t even thinking about playoff positioning just yet because they are out of the Top 8. As of January 9, the Blazers are 15-24 and are at 10th place in the Western Conference. They are 2.5 games back of the 8th seeded Utah . Should they remain in this position, then certainly that one game does matter a lot. It could be the difference between making the playoffs and going fishing on April 16. If that happens, this clerical error could haunt them.
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