Blazers Best Cavs in Portland

by Joe Gabriele Managing Editor
Kyrie Irving led the Wine and Gold with 21 points on Sunday.
Sam Forencich
NBAE.Getty Images

Topping the Trail Blazers in Portland is a tall order on any night. Topping them while committing 24 turnovers is close to mission impossible.

After a tight first half, the Blazers staved off the Wine and Gold’s run in the second and pulled away down the stretch – handing Cleveland the 98-78 loss at the Rose Garden.

Kyrie Irving’s 21 points led just three Cavaliers in double-figures and Cleveland shot just 37 from the field. The Blazers, meanwhile, got a combined 52 points from LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews.

The Cavaliers were within striking distance in the second quarter, but Matthews canned a three-pointer to close the first half, putting Portland up seven. In the third period, the Blazers opened up a 10-point edge before Irving keyed a run that got Cleveland to within four, 57-53.

But the Blazers pulled away in the fourth quarter, opening the lead up to 24 points before Byron Scott emptied his bench with 4:49 to play.

The Cavaliers rookie tandem of Irving and Tristan Thompson were a combined 13-for-23 from the floor and were among the few bright spots on Sunday. Thompson finished with 10 points, five boards and a game-high three blocked shots.

The only other Cavalier to notch double-figures was Omri Casspi with 10 points. Antawn Jamsion and Anderson Varejao didn’t have strong offensive showings, but did manage 11 and 10 boards, respectively.

Cleveland’s bench – which has been strong all season – committed 15 of the 24 turnovers and, aside from Tristan Thompson, were a combined 5-for-23 from the floor.

“I’ve never seen us that flip with the ball, kind of throwing it everywhere like it was a hot potato,” said Coach Bryon Scott. “That’s a good team over there, and when you turn the ball over 24 times, you’re really not giving yourself a chance against them.”

The Cavaliers road trip continues when the Wine and Gold face the Jazz on Tuesday evening in Salt Lake City.

  • Kyrie Irving was surrounded by family (including his grandparents) and friends at the Rose Garden on Sunday night. Irving’s group of about 20-25 fans sat in Section 209 and cheered him on the entire night. With the Wine and Gold having a couple days in Portland, Irving was also able hang out with his backcourt mate from Duke, Nolan Smith.

  • Semih Erden, who was inactive for the first seven games of the season recovering from a broken left thumb, was activated for the first time this season. He was inserted with just under five minutes to play in regulation, splitting a pair of free throws and grabbing a board.

  • Cavs rookie Mychel Thompson made a homecoming of sorts. He grew up in Portland before moving to Los Angeles at 14.

  • Samardo Samuels is probably ready for the road trip’s second half to start in Salt Lake City. He didn’t make the trip to Toronto over legal paperwork issues, committed five fouls in under eight minutes on Friday in Minnesota and led the Cavaliers in turnovers with five in 13 minutes off the bench.

  • Before Sunday’s matchup in Portland, a few Cavaliers – including Steelers fan Byron Scott – watched the Broncos-Steelers game that went into overtime. Coach Scott did his media availability between regulation and OT. When he finished, the game was over – with Denver shocking Scott’s team 11 seconds into the extra session.

  • The Cavaliers have had some rough Sundays over the past two years – going 1-13 in that span.

  • Omri Casspi has struggled from the floor this season, but might find some confidence from his fourth-quarter performance – going 3-for-3 from the floor in just three minutes of action. Earlier in the game, he missed a three-pointer and his man leaked behind him for a fastbreak bucket. Byron Scott pulled the first-year Cavalier and gave him an earful on his way to the bench.

  • For the first time in eight games this season, the Cavaliers – who came into Sunday’s game as the top-ranked team against the break, were outscored on the fastbreak, 22-16.

    “I take responsibility for most of it,” said Kyrie Irving. “I wasn’t back on most of it, and the guards were just leaking out behind me. Going forward, I’m just going to review film and see what I can do better, and we have to limit fast break points. We’re number one in the league, which is a credit to our effort. But they really capitalized on our turnovers tonight.”