Cleveland Cavaliers

Blazers are running out of excuses after another hard-to-believe loss

Blazers are running out of excuses after another hard-to-believe loss

I’ve looked everywhere. High and low. Near and far. And honestly, I can’t find any excuse for Portland’s 110-104 loss at Cleveland Saturday night.

It was another “can-you-believe-that?” night against one of the NBA’s worst teams – a Cavalier team that lost by 42 points at Dallas Friday night, climbed aboard a plane and arrived home in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

Then, of course, Cleveland trotted out and smacked the Trail Blazers right in the mouth, handing them their fourth straight loss and 10th in their last 12 games.

Injuries have left the Trail Blazers small up front and Cleveland continued the trend of pounding Portland in the paint, this time by 50-36 points. But the Blazers are so accommodating in that area, too. Yes, they are outmanned – so what would be wrong, especially late in games, with running a double-team at the likes of Tristan Thompson? It would seem a better option than just letting him, or others, take four or five dribbles, backing Anthony Tolliver down to the basket area for an easy score.

And you can continue to blame the team’s defense – it hasn’t been very good. But in some ways, the offense has been worse. The Cavs allow 111.6 per game this season and if Portland could have just matched that figure it would have won the game. The Blazers shot poorly and settled for a lot of difficult shots, which led to them not getting to the foul line nearly as much as Cleveland. And right now, they have nobody in the mood to hunt for offensive rebounds that lead to second-chance points. They had just three second-chance points and only two fast-break points – which will get you whipped most nights by themselves.

Obviously, not a lot of easy baskets.

Portland is playing too much one-on-one and not moving the ball or its bodies. The pick and roll is soft on the picks and almost non-existent on the rolls. And often, the Blazers are getting outhustled.

“We didn’t shoot the ball very well in the first half and didn’t defend as well as we needed to in the second half,” Coach Terry Stotts said in a short meeting with the media afterward.

When you don’t shoot well, it’s usually because you don’t get good shots. Or you have the wrong people taking them. Both of those things happened to Portland.

I get all the injuries. I understand the tough schedule featuring all the road games. But this was a game that was begging to be won.

And forget the excuses. They just don’t fit that game Saturday night in Cleveland.

Instant Analysis: Damian Lillard can't will the Blazers to a win over Cavs

Instant Analysis: Damian Lillard can't will the Blazers to a win over Cavs

CLEVELAND – Coming into Saturday’s game, the Portland Trail Blazers were riding a three-game losing streak, while the Cavaliers had a six-game losing streak of their own.

The Blazers were without big man Hassan Whiteside.

The Cavs were without big man Kevin Love.

Portland did, however, get Damian Lillard back on the court after he sat out two previous games with back spasms.

It wasn’t the return Lillard would’ve hoped for, though. The Blazers All-Star point guard was slow to get up and down the court late in the game; he struggled from the field, and committed four turnovers on the night.  

But, in the final four minutes when Lillard scored seven straight points, it looked as though he was going to lead the Blazers to a come from behind victory. But, it was a little too late.

FINAL BOX SCORE: Cavs 110, Trail Blazers 104
Here are three quick takeaways from Saturday’s loss:

1.  Rebounding a problem once again for Portland

It’s not as though Cleveland’s lineup was towering over Portland’s lineup, even though without Whiteside, the Blazers started Anthony Tolliver at center. Yet, the Cavs were able to outrebound Portland significantly, and in the final seconds, they came up with big-time boards.  

2.  McCollum gets fired up, gets going

CJ McCollum had some words for the officials early in the third quarter and was hit with a technical foul at the 10:55 mark. That, in turn, helped McCollum get going offensively. The Blazers shooting guard had 10 points in the third after scoring just six points in the first half. Between McCollum and Anfernee Simons’ scoring early in the fourth the duo kept the Blazers in the game.   

3.  Cavs relying on Thompson

Despite Cleveland playing a smaller lineup too, the Cavaliers were still able to take advantage of the Blazers down low with Anthony Tolliver guarding Tristan Thompson. Thompson made sure to body up Tolliver when he was given the chance. A few times Thompson was able to get away with hooking his arm around Tolliver to get an easier path to the basket. Thompson used his quickness to take it right at the Blazers. Thompson had some help offensively, when Jordan Clarkson came alive from the three-point line late in the game.

Up Next: Portland concluded its six-game trip on Monday night in Chicago. The Blazers and Bulls tip-off at 5:00pm PT.

Check back throughout tonight and tomorrow for more articles and videos from the player!

How to watch, stream Trail Blazers at Cavs tonight at 5:00pm

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How to watch, stream Trail Blazers at Cavs tonight at 5:00pm

CLEVELAND – With two games remaining on this current six-game road trip, the Portland Trail Blazers (5-11) have talked about how important it is for them to get a win in Cleveland and then follow that up with a victory in Chicago.

Portland is looking to take advantage of the Cleveland Cavaliers (4-10) currently riding a five-game losing streak.

The Trail Blazers have listed Damian Lillard (back spasms) as probable and Hassan Whiteside (right hip tendinosis) as questionable for Saturday's game at Cleveland. However, Whiteside tells me he will not play tonight against Cleveland and is aiming for return against the Bulls.

You can watch all the action of the Blazers and Cavs on NBC Sports Northwest, the Official Network of the Portland Trail Blazers and you can stream the game on our website or by downloading the MyTeams app!

And, have you heard about Blazers Pass?

You can get 15 live Trail Blazers games, pre and postgame shows, and on-demand full-game replays with Blazers Pass! (Only available to fans located in Blazers Territory, pursuant to NBA rules and agreements. No TV provider required. Subscription Period: November 4, 2019 - April 16, 2020. Subscription auto-renews prior to start of next season.)

Don't miss any of the coverage of tonight's game:

2:30pm Blazers Game Day with Chad Doing

4:00pm Blazers Warm-Up

4:30pm Trail Blazers Pregame Show

5:00pm Trail Blazers vs. Cavs

After the game catch Blazers Outsiders with hosts Joe Simons and Dan Marang!

Plus, full coverage of the game from Dwight JaynesJamie Hudson and our digital team. Follow us on social throughout the night for the latest updates. 

Quotable

“I was really proud of the way we competed. The way we came back after we got down early was really impressive. We made some mistakes at the end, but overall, I like the way we played.” – Blazers head coach Terry Stotts after Thursday night’s loss to the Bucks

Countdown to Tip-Off: Blazers beat Cavs in 2003 home opener

Countdown to Tip-Off: Blazers beat Cavs in 2003 home opener

 We're counting down the days until the Portland Trail Blazers open up the 2019-2020 NBA season by looking back at each of the home opener wins (the streak is now at 18). Here is a look at what happened back in 2003 when the Portland Trail Blazers faced the Cleveland Cavaliers and a rookie LeBron James for their home-opener.

Can’t remember what the NBA was like in 2003? Let’s paint the picture:

  • Tim Duncan had just won back-to-back MVP awards
  • The Spurs were the defending champions
  • The Nets were still in New Jersey and made back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals 
  • Tracy McGrady was the league’s leading scorer
  • LeBron James was the No.1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft
  • The Blazers had the No.23 pick and drafted Travis Outlaw

 

LeBron James was making his first trip to Portland and the Trail Blazers sent him back home with the loss. Cleveland started strong and had the game tied 23-23 at the end of the first quarter, but the Blazers outscored the Cavs 31-16 in the second and never looked back. The final score in this one, 104-85, Portland. It was the first win of the season for the Blazers, and the third straight loss for Cleveland. 

Notable stats: 

Cleveland  -

LeBron James – 8 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds.

Carlos Boozer – 15 points, 9 rebounds

Zydrunas Ilgauskas – 21 points, 4  rebounds

 

Blazers –

Rasheed Wallace – 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists 

Damon Stoudamire – 14 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists

Zach Randolph – 21 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists

The Blazers would go on to finish the season 41-41 and miss the playoffs. It marked the first time the Blazers had missed the playoffs since the 1981-82 season. 

 

Woj Report: Cavaliers in Denver conducting interview with Trail Blazer assistant

Woj Report: Cavaliers in Denver conducting interview with Trail Blazer assistant

Adrian Wojnrowski reporting today that the General Manager for the Cleveland Cavaliers is in Denver conducting interviews for their vacant head coaching position. 

The juicy Trail Blazer nugget according to Woj:

"... and Portland assistant David Vanterpool, league sources said...The Cavaliers had received permission to interview another Trail Blazers assistant, Nate Tibbetts, but scheduling conflicts will push that meeting until after the Blazers-Nuggets Western Conference semifinals."

Both Vanterpool and Tibbetts have been linked to previous coaching vacancies in the past. It sure feels like only a matter of time before one, or both, get their crack at a head coaching gig in the NBA. 

Read Woj's full story here. 

More to come from Insider Dwight Jaynes and Trail Blazer Reporter Jamie Hudson throughout the off-season on the Trail Blazers coaching staff. 

WOJ REPORT: Cavs have received permission to interview Blazers assistants Tibbetts and Vanterpool for vacant head coaching job

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WOJ REPORT: Cavs have received permission to interview Blazers assistants Tibbetts and Vanterpool for vacant head coaching job

The Cleveland Cavaliers are searching for their new head coach and they are curious to see if their franchise coach could currently be in Portland.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cavaliers have received permission to interview Portland Trail Blazers assistants Nate Tibbetts and David Vanterpool for the franchise's vacant head coaching job.

This is nothing new for Tibbetts and Vanterpool. Both assistant coaches have been looked at as potential head coach candidates in the past few years.  

Tibbets has been an assistant for the Trail Blazers since the 2013-2014 season, while Vanterpool joined Portland’s staff in August of 2012.

Tibbets had previously been an assistant for the Cavs from 2011-2013.

Last year, Tibbets was in the final running for the Atlanta Hawks head coach position.

This week, Vanterpool was also linked to be in the running for the Phoenix Sun’s job.

More to come on the coach situation as they progress. 

 

Watch Live Trail Blazers Playoff Games on the NBC Sports MyTeams App. All you have to do is download the app, log-in, and you can watch LIVE playoff games plus receive comprehensive coverage at your fingertips. Download Now!

Rip City Rewind: Everything you might have missed as the Blazers beat the Cavaliers

Rip City Rewind: Everything you might have missed as the Blazers beat the Cavaliers

On the third game of seven-game road trip, the Portland Trail Blazers traveled to Cleveland with one goal in mind: get another East Coast win on the road.

While the Blazers leaned on their center tandem of Enes Kanter and Jusuf Nurkic in Portland’s last two games, it was CJ McCollum who caught fire on Monday night.

Here’s a look at everything you might have missed as the Blazers beat the Cavs 123-110.

Portland got off to a hot start before halftime, running away with a 23-point lead behind the 3-point shooting of Seth Curry and CJ McCollum. And the third quarter happened.

The Blazers energy appeared to dissipate and the Cavaliers took advantage, outscoring Portland 36-17 in the third quarter. In the final four minutes, the tides changed behind four, 3-point field goals and Portland survived what could have been an epic collapse.

Dwight Jaynes noted the Blazers great escape: In spite of third-quarter trouble, Blazers' three-pointers bury Cavs

In front of nearly 100 family and friends, CJ McCollum made sure to impress. The Trail Blazers guard knocked seven three-pointers, tying his career-high. He finished the game 7-for-8 from behind the arc with 35 points and seven rebounds.

Jamie Hudson took a look at CJ’s monster night: Blackjack, naps and seven straight 3s --- Just another day for CJ McCollum

Following the game, Jamie shared her initial reactions to the Blazers victory over the Cavs: Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers win over the Cleveland Cavaliers

Blackjack, naps and seven straight 3s --- Just another day for CJ McCollum

Blackjack, naps and seven straight 3s --- Just another day for CJ McCollum

CLEVELAND –  When you have about 100 family and friends travel roughly 60 miles to come watch you play, you make sure to put on a show.

That’s exactly what CJ McCollum did in the Blazers 123-110 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.

McCollum’s hometown of Canton, Ohio is about an hour drive from Quicken Loans Arena. McCollum was happy to see some familiar faces in the crowd. “It’s nice to play well in front of a lot of friends and family,” McCollum said.

The Trail Blazers two-guard knocked down seven straight three-pointers and with those seven, McCollum tied his career-high in threes made.

“Guys set some good screens for me, so I was able to get some easy threes… Offense was rolling, I just tried to take advantage of the movement,” McCollum said.

But McCollum was also taking advantage of what the Cavs were throwing at him.

“I think it’s just about being aggressive, mixing up cuts, and then trying to score in different ways and taking what the defensive gives you and tonight they gave me a little bit of everything,” McCollum said. 

In his last 10 games, McCollum is averaging one point more than his season average of 20.9, while shooting 44.9% from the field.

McCollum went 7-for-8 from beyond the arc in Monday’s win and totaled 35 points and seven rebounds, while also getting into foul trouble. He had five personal fouls on the night after picking up his fifth with 5:56 left in the game.

“He had it rolling. It was good to see. You know, first two games, obviously on this road trip we haven’t shot the three well, we made up for it tonight, but CJ, even despite the foul trouble, he had a good rhythm to his shot, getting into the lane, it was good to see some threes go,” Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said postgame.

The Blazers shot 62.1% from deep against the Cavs after averaging 21.8% from three in the first two games on this road trip.

Even though early on with McCollum scoring 22 of his 35 points in the first half and the Blazers jumping out to a 14-0 lead to start the game, it wasn’t all three-pointers and good rhythm for the Blazers.

The second half started out rough for Portland as the Blazers got outscored 36-17 in the third quarter.

But like the leader of this Blazers team, Damian Lillard, said, “I think it’s important that we're able to weather the storm and find a way to get it done.” Lillard knows that closing out the game to go 3-0 on this trip is what is significant.

He also knows that McCollum was the big reason why the Blazers started hot and were able to finish hot in Monday’s game.

“He carried us on the offensive end, just from shot making and scoring the ball, I think it was a pretty easy night. When you’ve got a guy going like that, they can turn it into forty, fifty points and we try to just keep that rolling. I was just trying to keep him involved and keep trying to get him opportunities,” Lillard said.

Lillard finished with 21 points and eight assists.

The duo of Lillard and McCollum came up big in the final minutes. Both players hit two threes each in the final six minutes of the game.

“I liked the way we finished, the threes – that little run that we made with the threes certainly made a difference,” Coach Stotts said.

Was there anything special about how McCollum prepared for this game? Did he an extra good shootaround in the morning?

Nope.

“It was just a normal day,” McCollum said. “I took a long nap like I always do, played some Blackjack last night and got ready for the game.”

A normal day for CJ -- win at the tables, win on the court.

That's a good day.

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers win over the Cleveland Cavaliers

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Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers win over the Cleveland Cavaliers

CLEVELAND – The Portland Trail Blazers entered Monday night’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers looking to avoid a trap game against the lowly Cavs and improve its 12-15-road record.

Not only did the Blazers avoid a trap game, but, they put on a show in the first half.

The ball movement, the three-point shooting, and the team defense – it was all on point for Portland in the first two quarters as the Blazers came away with a 123-110 win over the Cavaliers.   

Even though it’s been a rough season for Cleveland, they had been playing well recently, and the Cavs showed that when they almost completed a comeback against Portland. 

Final Box Score: Trail Blazers 123, Cavs 110

Here are some quick thoughts from the Blazers third straight road win:

1. Blazers get off to a quick-start

Portland hit its first three three-pointers and started off the game with a 14-0 lead. To end the 1st quarter the Blazers were up 29-18 after shooting 57.9% from the field.

The quick start was more impressive on the defensive end. Portland was active with its hand and made sure to disrupt the Cavs’ offense.  

The quick start proved the Blazers were not overlooking the Cavs who entered this game with a 14-46 overall record with just nine home wins on the season.

The Blazers shooting continued to rise in the second quarter as Portland continued its impressive play. It should come as no surprise that the Blazers are now 3-0 post All-Star break. For the past few seasons this has become a normal thing to see a surge in this team. Blazers head coach Terry Stotts attributes a lot of the second half of the season success to Damian Lillard. That’s what he told the media before Monday’s game.

The Blazers biggest lead of the first half was 23 after shooting 68% for the half, which is their best shooting half of the season.

2. Raining threes

It was a fitting way to end the first half with Maurice Harkless knocking down a three-pointer from the wing at the buzzer because it had been a big half of splashing in threes. Portland converted 11 of its 13 three-point attempts.

Sometimes it feels like three-point shooting is contagious and that can be a good thing or bad thing. For the Blazers it was all-good in the first half on Monday night.

The second half wasn’t as kind to the Blazers, but Portland was able to overcome the Cavs 36-17 third quarter. The Blazers cooled off from three and went 0-for-6 from deep in the third.  

The NBA is a game of runs and that was definitely the case in Cleveland on Monday.

3. Blazers able to hold off comeback, but it wasn’t easy

CJ McCollum was a big reason the Blazers were able to hold onto the lead and get a fourth straight victory. McCollum was scoring in a variety of ways the entire game. He was shooting 8-of-10 through the first three quarters and continued his hot shooting to help his team finish strong.

The Blazers stayed calm down the stretch and didn’t let the loud Cavs fans get to them despite the Blazers’ tale of two halves as far as shooting goes.

McCollum hit two clutch three-pointers down the stretch to really secure the victory.  NEXT UP: The Trail Blazers visit the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night in the fourth game on this seven-game trip. Tip-off is set for 5:00pm PT start time. Our pregame coverage tips off at 4:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your Blazers and stream the games easily on your device.

 

Everything you need to know from pregame as Trail Blazers prep for Cleveland Cavs

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NBC Sports Northwest

Everything you need to know from pregame as Trail Blazers prep for Cleveland Cavs

CLEVELAND – Nik Stauskas is just happy to land on his feet in Cleveland.

The former Trail Blazers guard, who was traded three times and released before the league's trade deadline, has been adjusting to his new NBA home with the Cavaliers.

“That whole week of being traded multiple times and just not knowing where I was going to end up, it was a little stressful, but I’m happy I landed on my feet and able to have an opportunity here in Cleveland,” Stauskas said.

Before the Blazers and Cavs tipped off on Monday, Stauskas got a chance to catch up with his former teammates.  

“It’s fun just to see everyone again, especially because with the way I got traded after practice I didn’t really get to say goodbye to everyone like I wanted to, so it was just cool to say hi to everyone again and just check in… But it’s crazy, I think the trade happened like two weeks ago, but it feels like it’s already been forever. I miss everyone,” Stausksas said.  

In 44 games for Portland, Stauskas averaged 6.1 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists. He shot 41.9 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from 3-point range.

Stauskas has played in three games so far for Cleveland since being traded. He’s averaging 3.3 points per game in 16 minutes of work.

The 25-year old had a message for the fans of Rip City before he faced his former team:

“The fans were amazing. The amount of people that I had reach out to me when I got traded, showing their support and saying that there were gonna miss me, it meant a lot and I know I was only there for like half a season, but I really felt like Portland was home and the fans treated me with nothing but love,” Stauskas said.  

In his pregame interview, Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts stressed the importance of not overlooking Cleveland, who is currently 14-46 on the season. Stotts also said he got a chance to talk with Stauskas.

“He said he misses us, that was nice,” Stotts said with a smile.

Hear from Coach Stotts: