Portland Trail Blazers (36-29) vs Cleveland Cavaliers (21-44)
The Portland Trail Blazers end their six-game trip in Cleveland, hoping to bounce back from whirlwind (yes, there was a tornado warning) trip in Atlanta. Hopefully a day off in Ohio reboots the Blazers for a final win before a return to the Moda Center to face the Los Angeles Lakers. The Blazers are helped by the fact that the young and injury-ravaged Cavaliers played out an over time loss against the Phoenix Suns last night.
Wednesday, May 5 - 4:30 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, NBATV, NBA League Pass or see games all season on fuboTV
Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out), Norman Powell (out), Damian Lillard (probable) Cavaliers injuries: Dylan Windler (out), Matthew Dellavedova (out), Larry Nance Jr. (out), Taurean Prince (out), Darius Garland (questionable), Isaiah Hartenstein (questionable), Lamar Stevens (questionable)
SBN Affiliate: Fear the Sword
What To Watch For
- Under-used bench wings. Nassir Little, Derrick Jones Jr. and Rondae Hollis-Jerfferson haven’t seen much of the court lately. Terry Stotts has gone for an eight-man rotation, with Carmelo Anthony, Anfernee Simons and Enes Kanter rounding out the bench. With the Blazers likely fatigued from a long trip, will this defensive trio see more time?
- Rested Blazers. After a crazy Sunday night and Monday morning in Georgia, the Blazers needed some down time. Let’s hope yesterday’s day off can re-focus the squad as they work for a win against the Cavs who played a marathon match last night. Damian Lillard may still play so let’s hope he’s ready to go.
- Simons. Ant’s rise on both sides of the ball has been a pleasure to watch over the past month. Two months ago he couldn’t crack the 10-man rotation, now he’s secure as one of the Blazers first eight players. Simons is going to need to continue contributing off the bench if he hopes to figure in the postseason.
What Others Are Saying
It appears a number of Cavaliers are less than pleased with teammate Collin Sexton and his attachment to the basketball during play, according to Jenna Lemoncelli at the New York Post.
Collin Sexton apparently isn’t the most popular player in the Cavaliers locker room. The 22-year-old guard, who’s in his third season with the Cavs, has reportedly frustrated teammates with his style of play.
“Various Cavs players still grow frustrated by the way Sexton dominates the ball, and opponents taunt them by saying during games, ‘you know he’s not going to pass you the ball,’” according to The Athletic.
Andersen Varejao is back with the Cleveland Cavaliers writes Ben Axelrod of WKYC Cleveland. Unfortunately the Brazilian big man is still on the Blazers’ payroll after he was brought in, stretched, and waived back when Portland had cap space.
News of Varejao’s return to Cleveland, which was originally reported last week, came as a shock to many, as the 13-year NBA veteran hadn’t previously played in the league since the 2016-17 season. Now 38-years-old, Varejao played for Flamengo in his native country of Brazil from 2018-2019.
Originally acquired in a trade with the Orlando Magic in 2004, Varejao spent 12 seasons with the Cavs, averaging 7.6 points and 7.5 rebounds in 591 regular-season games. Affectionately known as “Wild Thing” thanks to curly hair, Varejao was a fan favorite in Cleveland thanks to his hard, defensive-minded play and ability to get under opponents’ skin.
Evan Dammarell at Fear the Sword reflects on the pain of being a Cavaliers fan during the 2020-21 season.
Don’t worry, though. My love for this team hasn’t died out. Neither has my desire or drive to cover it and the NBA as a whole through all the platforms I have available to me. I just think the general negativity and nastiness between certain individuals and myself has taken its mental toll. If you’re dealing with the same burnout like me I suggest you do the same.
Go play a new video game. Go workout and train for an event in the fall. Make new dishes or your favorite comfort food. That’s what I am doing and plan on continuing to do. Whatever it takes (Get it? Because Cavs?) to make you happy go out and do it. I’ll be back and I’m excited to see what the future holds.