#CavsBlazers Game Preview - March 15, 2018

Moda Center at 10:00 p.m. ET
David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

Game Summary

The Cavaliers (39-28) head on up to Rip City to square off with the Portland Trail Blazers (41-26) on Thursday night for the final time this regular season. Tipoff from the Moda Center is at 10:00 p.m. (ET).

The Wine & Gold are 2-2 on their longest roadie of the season and are looking to improve that record on Thursday in the penultimate game of their six-contest trip. After dropping two games in Tinseltown this past weekend, Cleveland brought the road trip back .500 with a 129-107 win over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night in Arizona.

The Cavaliers got off to a fast start in the Valley of the Suns, jumping out to a 20-point lead (38-18) at the end of the first quarter and leading by double-digits the rest of the way. For the fifth time this season, the Cavs held an opponent to under .400 shooting from the field, as Phoenix shot 39-98 (.388), including just 6-32 (.188) from beyond the arc. Cleveland also had 12 steals, a season-high tying nine blocks and scored 21 points off of 18 Phoenix turnovers.

With 129 points scored at Phoenix, the Cavs are now 14-1 when tallying at least 120 points this season (7-0 on the road). Against the Suns, Cleveland shot 43-87 (.494) from the field, 17-35 (.486) from three-point range and 26-30 (.867) from the foul line and had 25 assists.

Thanks to some stellar shooting in Arizona, the Cavs have now made at least 10 triples in 52 games this season, their second-most in a single season (prev. 51 in 2015-16). The team record for double-digit three-point contests is 65, which was set last season. Cleveland has now made 12 threes or more in five-straight games (since March 5).

LeBron was an important piece for the Cavs, which is nothing new, in Tuesday's win. In fact, James registered his 14th triple-double of the season (28 PTS, 13 REB, 11 AST) and has now set a career-high for triple-doubles in a single season (previously 13 in 2016-17). He is also averaging a triple-double over the last 15 games (since February 7) with 29.1 points 10.2 rebounds and 10.3 assists.

As James' squad heads into their final contest this campaign with the Blazers, Portland will be looking to extend their impressive 10-game win streak when they host the Cavs at the Moda Center.

The Blazers, who were barely above .500 on the season following their January 2 loss to the Cavaliers, have gone 22-9 since then, averaging 109.8 ppg to their opponents' 105.3. A big key to their success has been point guard Damian Lillard who has been shooting lights out all season long. In 60 games in 2017-18, Lillard is averaging 26.9 ppg and a .446 shooting percentage. Those numbers have been even better since the turn of the new year, with the guard posting 28.7 ppg on .476 shooting.

Lillard and Co. made quick work of their last opponent, the Miami Heat in a 115-99 route on Monday night. In the win, the Blazers saw Lillard knock down 32 points and 10 assists, while big man Jusuf Nurkic tallied 27 points and 16 boards.

Portland currently owns the third seed in the Western Conference playoff picture, but have yet to clinch a postseason spot. They also own the top seed in the Northwest Division, sitting 1.5 games above the Oklahoma City Thunder.


Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio

Radio: WTAM 1100, 100.7 WMMS, 87.7 La Mega

Programming Note: On Thursday, FOX Sports Ohio is airing the Blue Jackets – Flyers game (7:00 p.m.) and the Cavs – Blazers game (10:00 p.m.). To view TV listings, CLICK HERE.

For live in-game updates, follow @cavs, @CavsJoeG, @CavsFredMcLeod, @MrCavalier34, @CavsJMike and @chones22 on Twitter.


Probable Starters/Status Update*

#3 - George Hill

#26 - Kyle Korver

#32 - Jeff Green

#23 - LeBron James

#22 - Larry Nance Jr.

#0 - Damian Lillard

#3 - CJ McCollum

#4 - Maurice Harkless

#8 - Al-Farouq Aminu

#27 - Jusuf Nurkic

Status Update: (Cavs) - Kevin Love, (Left hand fracture, Out), Rodney Hood, (Low back strain, Questionable), Cedi Osman, (Left hip strain, Out), Tristan Thompson, (Right ankle strain, Out)

Status Update: (Blazers) - None to report.

*Subject to change.


Head-to-Head Matchup

As mentioned, Thursday's contest between the Blazers and Cavaliers is the the second, and final, meeting between the two teams this regular season.

Cleveland is 4-2 in the last six matchups against Portland, which includes a 127-110 win at The Q on January 2. In the win, the Cavs had 28 assists (10 turnovers) and shot 43-83 (.518) from the field and 13-32 (.406) from three-point territory.

The Wine & Gold’s bench, who have been incredible all season long, outscored Portland’s reserves 61-23 in that game and also bested their opponent in fast break points (18-3) while scoring 25 points off of Portland’s 15 turnovers.

Overall, the Cavs are 5-4 against teams from the Northwest, splitting the series with each of those five teams, excluding the Blazers.


On Deck

Following the Cavs' final West Coast showdown this season, the club will head back East, stopping in Chicago to take on the Bulls on Saturday (St. Patrick's Day) at 8:00 p.m. (ET). They'll return to The Land on Monday to battle the Milwaukee Bucks at 7:00 p.m. (ET) for the first of a three-game homestand, which also includes games against the Toronto Raptors (March 21) and the Phoenix Suns (March 23).

FIND SEATS | FULL SCHEDULE

#CavsBlazers Postgame: George Hill - March 15, 2018

Cavaliers guard George Hill spoke with the media following Thursday's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center.

Cavs at Blazers - March 15, 2018

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#CavsBlazers Postgame: George Hill - March 15, 2018

Cavaliers guard George Hill spoke with the media following Thursday's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center.
Mar 16, 2018  |  02:45

#CavsBlazers Postgame: LeBron James - March 15, 2018

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media following Thursday's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center.
Mar 16, 2018  |  04:02

#CavsBlazers Postgame: Jordan Clarkson - March 15, 2018

Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson spoke with the media following Thursday's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center.
Mar 16, 2018  |  02:17

#CavsBlazers Postgame: Coach Lue - March 15, 2018

Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue spoke with the media following Thursday's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center.
Mar 16, 2018  |  04:25

LeBron James Scores 35 at Blazers

LeBron James stuffs the stat sheet with 35 points and 14 rebounds but it still isn't enough as the Cavaliers lose to the Blazers.
Mar 16, 2018  |  02:01

GAME RECAP: Blazers 113, Cavaliers 105

CJ McCollum scores 29 points and dishes out three assists against the Cavaliers as the Blazers clinch their 11th straight win.
Mar 16, 2018  |  02:06

Jeff Green Steps Through for the Slam

Jeff Green steps past the Blazers defense and stretches for the one-hand finish at the rim.
Mar 15, 2018  |  00:10

Jeff Green with the Alley-Oop Slam

LeBron James finds Jeff Green at the rim for the high-handoff.
Mar 15, 2018  |  00:08

LBJ Beats the First Half Buzzer

LeBron James cans the tough fadeaway jumper to close out the first half in Portland.
Mar 15, 2018  |  00:29

Great Ball Movement Results in Slam

The Wine & Gold use great ball movement to get LeBron James an easy power flush.
Mar 15, 2018  |  00:09

LBJ with the Reverse Finish

LeBron James takes it strong into the lane and finishes the fancy reverse layup in this Goodyear 'More Driven' highlight.
Mar 15, 2018  |  00:13

Featured Highlight: LBJ Puts Blazers on a Poster

LeBron James soars through the lane and throws the hammer down on the Blazers defense.
Mar 15, 2018  |  00:19

#CavsBlazers Shootaround: LeBron James - March 15, 2018

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media prior to Thursday's shootaround at the Moda Center.
Mar 15, 2018  |  08:09