Blazers Best Cavs in Portland
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.
“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.”