PORTLAND, Ore. — Zach Collins is gearing up for the biggest games of his life after playing the biggest game of his life on Sunday.
"We just needed to continue to play the right way, make it tough on them, that’s what we did," said Collins of defeating the Denver Nuggets to advance to Western Conference Finals.
The Blazers 100-96 win on Sunday advanced the team to their first Western Conference finals in 19 years.
"It just speaks to the resiliency of this team," Collins said. "Us sticking together, especially with everything we went through this year. We had a lot of dogs out there tonight on our team."
Collins was one of those dogs, playing key minutes against Denver’s star player Nikola Jokic. He tallied seven points and four blocks on Sunday, following up a career playoff high 14 points and five blocks in game six.
The 21 year-old has only played two seasons for the Blazers but his performance helped lift this generation of the squad to new heights.
"It was great, especially for the guys who have been here the last few years that have been kind of building that foundation. Working their way and constantly getting to the second round and getting beat, they finally broke that wall. I’m happy for everybody. I’m extremely excited, but especially for those guys who have been here and been working."
Collins has seen what is happening in Portland during his time in Spokane.
"It kind of reminds me of when I was in college and we finally got to the Final Four. Few was trying to get there forever and we were that team that finally got there, so very similar feeling," Collins said.
Contrary to his time at Gonzaga, though, Collins and his squad will be the underdogs in this coming series against the Golden State Warriors.
That’s no problem for Collins.
"We love it. Even if everybody was saying how good we were, we keep everything in this locker room. Our coaches do a great job of giving us a game plan every night and making sure, especially during the regular season, that we're building towards the playoffs," Collins said.
"We don’t really pay attention to any outside noise. We just come in and play our game," he added.