The Blazers were led by a huge night from Damian Lillard (36 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds), with support from LaMarcus Aldridge (26 points 15 rebounds, 4 assists), Wesley Matthews (19 points) and Nicolas Batum (14 points, 9 rebounds). Joel Freeland's numbers weren't memorable (No points, 7 rebounds) deserves a special mention for turning the game in the fourth quarter at both ends of the floor while Lopez was hampered with foul trouble.
Lillard was holding his neck after a late collision with Aldridge, but stayed in the game to hit the game-winner. If there is any news, we'll be sure to update you.
First Quarter: Rough start for the Blazers, as they looked a little rusty. Lillard was able to get to the rim, but nobody could get anything started. Cleveland took a 5 point lead, only to see the game tied, then take a 7 point lead again. And this was in the first 5 minutes! The lethargic Blazers continued to miss shots, and the Cavs' lead reached 9. Portland spent the rest of the quarter keeping things close, as Aldridge and Lillard personally kept the Blazers alive.
Cleveland 28, Portland 26
Has anyone dunked yet? I like dunks.
Second Quarter: Lillard immediately hit a three to give the Blazers the lead, but the Cavs got a 4-point play at the other end. Former Blazer Jarrett Jack sparked a hot stretch for Cleveland, but Portland did enough to stay close. They pushed the tempo and took the lead, but thought they should leave Jack open for three. Bad idea. The uptempo game seemed to just lead to missed shots, and the teams swapped leads. As Andrew Bynum easily scored against Lopez, the Cavs' starters made a run late in the quarter to keep the lead at halftime.
Cleveland 59, Portland 55
Can't wait for the Blazers to play some defense.
Third Quarter: The Blazers opened the quarter with a turnover and a shooting foul. From there, Kyrie Irving took over, scoring 8 points in two minutes to open up Cleveland's lead. But Lillard hit three straight three-pointers to pull the Blazers ahead! Cleveland needed to call a timeout. A Matthews post-up gave the Blazers a 5 point lead, and they tried to nurse it for the second half of the quarter, but Cleveland tied the game on a three-pointer from a broken play. Aldridge kept the Blazers ahead, but the Cavs wouldn't go away, hitting all their shots against the tired Blazer D. Former Cavalier Mo Williams hit a long three-pointer to restore the 5 point Blazer lead, and the teams traded turnovers to close the quarter.
Portland 92, Cleveland 88
Am I the only one that is excited for the Olympic curling trials?
by JmarcL4 (No, no you're not.)
Fourth Quarter: Cleveland immediately scored 9 quick points against an ugly Blazer defense to take a 5 point lead. Lillard responded by missing a free throw, but followed it up with a transition three! In response, the Cavs flopped to force Lopez' fifth foul. He went right back to the bench. Portland stayed within 1 point with 8 minutes left. Aldridge's free throw tied the game, then a turnaround gave the Blazers a brief lead. Unfortunately, the Blazer defense simply could not stop Dion Waiters, who bombed away like he's LeBron James to keep Cleveland ahead. The teams were tied with just under 6 minutes left. Lillard bombed away from deep three-point land to give the Blazers the lead, and Freeland held back the Cavs offense at the other end. Freeland kept the offensive board alive, leading to a Matthews three for a 6 point lead! Freeland stopped the Cavs again at the other end, and Aldridge made them pay with another jumper. Cleveland called timeout with over 4 minutes left, suddenly down by 8.
Out of the timeout, Lillard was hurt a bit on a play, leading to a three-pointer from Cleveland to keep the game close. But after a broken Cavs play, the Blazers took advantage for a Matthews three in transition... swish! 8 point lead with 2:30 left. After Jack missed, Aldridge went for a fadeaway... swish! 10 point lead with 2 minutes left! But Cleveland wasn't going away. They hit a free throw, and after a Blazer miss, Irving nailed a three-pointer to cut the Blazer lead to 6 with 90 seconds left. In response, Aldridge hit two free throws to maintain the lead. With a minute left, Irving shook Lillard, and nailed another three-pointer to cut the Blazer lead to 5. Matthews missed a three, and Irving drove to the hoop... and was fouled as he scored. Portland led by 2 with 34 seconds left. The Blazers went to Aldridge, who missed a fadeaway.
Cleveland got the ball with 16 seconds left, and a chance to tie or win. They gave the ball to Irving, who got the ball to Anderson Varejao for a layup to tie the game. The Blazers had the ball with 7 seconds left and a chance to win. Lillard dribbled around at the top of the three point line, and the Cavs gave him room. He launched a three-pointer. Swish. And just like that, Cleveland knew Detroit's pain.
[Thanks Dane Carbaugh!]
One more game on this road trip, tomorrow night at 5pm PST in Minnesota. In the meantime, stay tuned for more game coverage from Dave later tonight.
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