Blazers Swept In Season Series With Home Loss To Cavs

by Casey Holdahl
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PORTLAND -- The Portland Trail Blazers hit the midway point of a five-game homestand with a 114-101 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in front of a crowd of 16,708 Friday night at Moda Center.

“I thought we generated some pretty good shots and couldn’t make to stay in it down the stretch,” said head coach Chauncey Billups. “Our bench, I thought, were really good, I hated to have to take them out in the fourth quarter, to be honest with you. Wish they could have gone a few more minutes, but they were tired... You’ve got to give (Cleveland) a lot of credit, they played well. That’s a really, really good, young team.”

The Trail Blazers are now 13-24 overall, 12-11 at home this season and have lost six of their last seven. And with the win, the Cavaliers have swept the season series.

Friday’s contest played out in a similar fashion to many of Portland’s recent losses. They didn’t shoot the ball especially well to start the game but managed to keep things close until their opponent, in this case, the Cavaliers, went on a run, in this case, a 19-6 push between the 7:49 and 4:05 marks of the second quarter, to take a double-digit deficit, in this case, 57-47, into the intermission.

And in the second half, they’d get close on multiple occasions to taking the lead -- they cut Cleveland’s lead to two late in the third quarter and to three early in the fourth -- only have the advantage subsequently pushed back to double digits during an extended scoring drought -- Portland scored just one point in a four-minute stretch.

And since they were once again playing without Damian Lillard (abdominal tendinopathy) and CJ McCollum (right lung pneumothorax), they were unable to muster the scoring they’d need to take a lead in the second half, let alone pull off a fourth-quarter comeback.

“Last couple (games), it’s a couple possession game late and then team kind of pull away,” said Billups. “We be right there though man, it’s just kind of tough. It’s unfortunate and it sucks but at the end of the day, all you can do is what you can do. Sometimes, inexperience kind of shows for us late in games. But that’s how you learn.”

Norman Powell led the Blazers with 19 points on 5-of-14 shooting, five rebounds, three assists and a steal in 37 minutes. Robert Covington, who got the start in place of Larry Nance Jr. (right knee inflammation) went 6-of-9 from the field and 5-of-8 from three for 17 points to go with eight rebounds, two blocks, a steal and an assist in 34 minutes.

Both Anfernee Simons and Jusuf Nurkic finished with 14 points, with the former tallying seven assists and the latter grabbing 12 rebounds for the double-double. Dennis Smith Jr. came off the bench for 10 points, four assists, three rebounds, a steal and a block in 17 minutes.

Cavaliers guard Darius Garland led all scorers with 26 points.

Next up, the Trail Blazers begin an all-home, back-to-back by hosting the Kings Sunday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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