Notebook: Trail Blazers 118, Cavaliers 117, 2OT



Posted Dec 2, 2012 1:11 AM

By Brian Dulik, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: Small forward Nicolas Batum made a fadeaway 3-pointer from the right corner with 0.2 seconds left in double-overtime, giving the Portland Trail Blazers a 118-117 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday night. Rookie point guard Damian Lillard paced Portland with 24 points and a career-high tying 11 assists, while Batum added 22 points and seven rebounds. Small forward Alonzo Gee scored 22 points for Cleveland, while center Anderson Varejao had 19 points, a game-best 17 rebounds and five assists. There were nine lead changes and six ties in the two five-minute overtime periods.

QUOTABLE: "Nic [Batum] makes those shots all the time at practice and shootaround, so we weren't surprised. But it was a big shot, no doubt."

-- Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard

THE STAT: NBA rebounding leader Varejao posted his eighth straight double-double -- grabbing eight offensive boards -- despite dislocating his right ring finger in the first quarter. The mop-topped Brazilian also became the second player in NBA history with eight consecutive games of 15-plus rebounds and five offensive boards, joining Houston center Moses Malone, who had 12 in a row in 1978-1979. Varejao is averaging 15.1 points and 15.3 rebounds in his ninth pro season, all of them with the Cavaliers.

TURNING POINT: Gee split a pair of free throws with 2.5 seconds left in double-OT to extend Cleveland's lead to 117-115, but that was more than enough time for the Trail Blazers. Lillard inbounded the ball at midcourt to Batum, who was running behind the 3-point line in front of the Cavaliers bench. The French sharpshooter took a quick stride, narrowly avoiding the sideline, and calmly buried a 24-footer.

QUOTABLE II: "The best thing about this game was my mom just got NBA League Pass installed today, so she watched me make the shot at 4 a.m. in France."

-- Trail Blazers small forward Nicolas Batum

HOT: Batum was initially credited with the game-winning basket at the end of the first overtime, but his putback of a Lillard miss was overruled on a video review by officials Ed Malloy, Mark Lindsay and Leon Wood. "After the one in the first overtime was too late, I had to make sure the second one counted," Batum quipped. "I feel great. This was a good game to watch for all the fans." ... Portland shooting guard Wesley Matthews collected 11 points and a career-high 10 assists, meaning the Trail Blazers' starting backcourt amassed 35 points and 21 assists. ... Cavaliers rookie center Tyler Zeller had 14 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. He also scored Cleveland's first six points in double-OT.

NOT: The Cavaliers have not won back-to-back games since March 9-11, 2012, a span that began 44 contests ago. ... Cleveland rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters shot 4-for-17 from the field and suffered a sprained left ankle with 1:49 left in double-OT. X-rays were negative, but he did not return. ... The Cavaliers committed 24-second violations on their final possession of the fourth quarter and their first possession of OT. ... Cleveland point guard Jeremy Pargo missed nine of his 12 field goal attempts. ... Portland center Meyers Leonard passed the basketball off the back of the backboard in the second quarter. ... The Trail Blazers are 1-4 on their seven-game, 11-day road trip.

QUOTABLE III: "I've never seen anything like this game with all those crazy shots going in. It was crazy, but it was great. It was great to be a part of it."

-- Trail Blazers center Joel Freeland

GOOD MOVE: Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts put the ball in Lillard's hands at the end of the fourth quarter and OT, but he missed a pair of 3-pointers. When Portland got a third opportunity to win the game at the end of double-OT, Stotts changed his strategy. He had Lillard throw the ball inbounds, where his primary options were Batum in the corner and power forward LaMarcus Aldridge in the paint. Lillard made the right choice and Batum made the shot. "Games like this are what we play for because they're so much fun," Lillard said. "It was fun for us and for the crowd.'"

BAD MOVE: Cavaliers coach Byron Scott played starting power forward Tristan Thompson for 38 minutes, but only received two rebounds from the second-year pro. Thompson also committed five fouls and made a very poor decision on Cleveland's final fourth-quarter possession, passing up an open wing jumper that resulted in a shot clock violation. "With all of the mistakes that we made in that game, it shouldn't have went into the first overtime," Scott said. "We were lucky and we played with fire basically the whole night -- and we got burned."

NOTABLE: Batum has followed the Cavaliers closely over the past two seasons, but he said Cleveland did not heavily recruit him when he was a free agent over the summer. "I heard those reports, too, but they didn't talk to me personally," Batum said. "My agent handles a lot of those things, but I did not speak to them. I do like their team and their style of play with Kyrie Irving, and they drafted Dion Waiters, and of course they have Anderson Varejao, so they have a lot of talent." ... There has never been a triple-overtime game at Quicken Loans Arena, which opened with the 1994-1995 NBA season. ... Cavaliers point guard Irving (left index finger fracture) again worked out on the arena's main court before the game. The reigning NBA Rookie of the Year is expected to return to action in mid-December.

UP NEXT: For the Trail Blazers, Monday @ Charlotte, Wednesday @ Indiana, Saturday vs. Sacramento. For the Cavaliers, Monday @ Detroit, Wednesday vs. Chicago, Friday @ Minnesota.