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.
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