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McCollum leads Blazers past Bucks as guards dominate

C.J. McCollum led a dominating night for the Portland backcourt with 40 points, as the Trail Blazers took a 118-103 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday night in Portland.

McCollum and Damian Lillard combined to outscore Milwaukee’s starting backcourt of Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon by a 53-9 margin.

The Bucks opened the fourth quarter with an 11-3 run to pull within 94-88 but couldn’t get any closer. Evan Turner’s 3-pointer pushed the Blazers out to a 109-95 lead with 4;23 left.

The Bucks failed to reach 110 points for the first time this season and also lost the battle of the boards, 51-42, for the first time.

McCollum scored 19 of his points in the third quarter as the Blazers turned a six-point lead into a 14-point edge. Portland outscored the Bucks in all four quarters.

Bledsoe (five points) went 2 for 12, and Brogdon went 2 for 8. McCollum made 17 of 26 shots, including 5 of 10 from behind the arc. Lillard added 13 points, including three 3-pointers.

The Bucks (8-2) head to Golden State Thursday night for another extremely tough test. They’ll finish their four-game West Coast trip with games at the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday and Denver on Sunday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 23 points, and Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton had 22 each. But they were the only Bucks players in double figures.

Portland (8-3) shot 52.7% and got 16 points off the bench from Turner. The Blazers held the Bucks to 43.5% shooting.

On a night where the Bucks felt they might have an advantage driving the ball to the basket and getting to the line, officials let a lot of action go inside and sent the teams to the line just eight times each.

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