Final Dime: Blazers 111, Cavaliers 105
Christian Eyenga finished with 12 points in Saturday night's loss to Portland at The Q.
David Liam Kyle
Byron Scott’s squad gave scrapped for 48 minutes on Saturday night, but the end result was painfully similar as the Wine and Gold made NBA history by dropping their 24th consecutive contest – falling to the Blazers, 111-105, on Saturday night at The Q.
“Mentally, (the streak) starts to wear on you a little bit until you can get over the hump,” said Coach Scott. “I think the biggest thing for us is to continue to press like we have been pressing. Our guys are competing every single game and that’s what we have to continue to do until we can get over that hump.”
Cleveland trailed by seven early in the fourth quarter but went on a 9-1 run to re-take the lead. But the Blazers bounced back to take a 10-point edge with just 4:31 to play. Once again, the Cavaliers clawed their way back, and when Ramon Sessions sank a layup with 1:23 remaining, the Wien and Gold trailed by just a deuce.
But on the ensuing possession, Andre Miller canned just his third field goal of the night – a tough 10-foot fadeaway that put Portland ahead by four, 109-105, with 1:02 to play. The Cavaliers came up empty on the next two possessions and Rudy Fernandez hit a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to ice the victory.
With the defeat, the Cavaliers supplant the 1995-96 Grizzlies and 1997-98 Nuggets for the league’s longest losing skein. Cleveland hasn’t won a regulation game since November, now having dropped 34 of their last 35 contests.
Seven Cavaliers notched double-figures in the loss – led by Antawn Jamison’s 17-point effort. Jamison was 7-for-16 from the floor, adding three boards, three helpers a pair of steals and a blocked shot.
Ramon Sessions followed up with 15 points, seven assists and six boards. Sessions committed just two turnovers on the night, but they both came in the second-half of the fourth quarter.
Jamario Moon had his best game of the season, tallying 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc – pitching in with two boards, two assists a steal and a blocked shot.
Daniel Gibson returned to the rotation and added a dozen points and a team-high nine assists. Christian Eyenga and Manny Harris scored 12 points apiece for Cleveland, with J.J. Hickson rounding out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 11 points.
“It feels like a bad dream, but at the same time, I’m willing to hang in here and continue to fight so that we get back to that (top) level,” said Gibson. “I know what it feels like to be there.”
The game featured seven ties and 17 lead changes and was tight statistically, except from long-distance shooting, where the Blazers shot an eye-popping 63 percent. Blazers forward, Nicolas Batum, came into Saturday’s affair shooting 33 percent from three-point range and went 5-of-6 against the Wine and Gold.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Cavaliers, who will travel to Dallas on Super Bowl Sunday and meet Dirk Nowitzki and high-octane Mavericks on Monday night.
2. With Anthony Parker replacing Manny Harris in the starting five on Saturday, Byron Scott has now gone through 19 different starting lineups this season. The San Antonio Spurs, by contrast, has started the same starting five in every game.
3. After getting DNP-CDs in seven of the previous eight games before Friday’s affair in Memphis, Jamario Moon has strung together two strong outings – setting a season-high with 14 points on Saturday at The Q.
4. Anthony Parker got his first start since January 2 – going 4-for-7 from the floor for nine points. A.P.’s averaging 14.7 ppg over his last three contests.
5. Daniel Gibson returned to the Cavs rotation after missing the last three games with a right quad injury. Gibson came off the bench to tally a season-high nine assists to go with 12 points.
6. Anderson Varejao spoke to reporters briefly before Saturday’s game, explaining that he’ll have surgery on Saturday in Charlotte with Dr. Robert Anderson and rehab here in Cleveland. The Wild Thing said he’s not in pain now and he’ll return as “the same player” after surgery.
7. In the month of February, Ramon Sessions is averaging an even 20.0 points and 9.0 assists per contest.
8. Christian Eyenga continues to improve with each outing. He’s notched double-figures in three straight ballgames and grabbed a career-high six boards against the Blazers.
9. Antawn Jamison has had some great recent success against the Blazers, averaging 24.2 ppg in last four home games against Portland.
10. The Cavaliers’ Monday night meeting with the Mavericks is their final road game of February. After this month, the Wine and Gold will travel for just 11 more games the remainder of the season.