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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Preview

Size, turnovers, scoring power could play a big part in this game.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (10-7) vs Cleveland Cavaliers (11-6)

The Portland Trail Blazers take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland for the second game of a tough four game Eastern Conference road trip.

This game comes in the midst of a three game losing streak for Portland with losses to the Brooklyn Nets, Utah Jazz, and Milwaukee Bucks. The Blazers are in the middle of an extremely tough section of their schedule as they try to keep pace in the Western Conference standings.

The Cavaliers are winners of their last three and currently sit third in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs face the Blazers in the fourth and final game of their homestand before a quick three game road trip.

Trail Blazers vs. Cavaliers - Wednesday, November 23 - 4:00 p.m. PT

How to watch on TV: Root Sports Plus, NBA League Pass

Blazers injuries: Damian Lillard (out), Gary Payton II (out), Keon Johnson (out)

Cavaliers injuries: Ricky Rubio (out), Dylan Windler (out), Dean Wade (out), Caris LeVert (out), Kevin Love (day-to-day)

SBN Affiliate: Fear The Sword

What To Watch For

  • Cavs backcourt. It is not often that the Blazers come into a game outmatched in the backcourt. But with Damian Lillard out and the Cavs sporting both Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, it’s tough matchup. The two Cavaliers guards combine for 53.7 points and 13.8 assists per game. They seem well on their way to another NBA All-Star appearance. Portland will have their hands full trying to contain threats on both the scoring and passing fronts.
  • Drew Eubanks and Jusuf Nurkic. The Cavs big man rotation can be tough to defend, and tougher to out-rebound. The center spot for the Blazers has been fairly consistent so far when it comes to those two categories. However, with Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen, and possibly Kevin Love all in the top forty in rebounds per game, the Blazers bigs will have their hands full. Limiting the impact those three have on the boards and around the rim will be essential in limiting the scoring in a game where the Blazers will be down their top scorer.
  • Win the turnover battle. The Blazers and Cavs rank 22nd and 20th respectively in turnovers per game so far this season. Which team is able to win the turnover battle and create easy opportunities for their offense will be a storyline to watch in this contest. Both teams are also near the bottom of the league in steals per game, so this could also end up being a game where neither team gives up the ball often due to these low steal numbers. If the Blazers can take care of the ball, while also being aggressive going for steals, it could lead to a huge advantage for them.

What Others Are Saying

Jackson Flickinger of Fear The Sword talks about Darius Garland’s strong play of late, and his increasing chemistry with Donovan Mitchell.

Garland has carried the momentum from last Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves into this week. He had a solid showing in the loss to Milwaukee Bucks contributing 23 points and 8 assists. Garland followed that up with a 41-point outing against Charlotte which included a game-tying three at the end of the first overtime. He then capped off the week with an effortless 25-point and seven-assist performance against the Heat on seven of 12 shooting in 28 minutes.

The synergy that he’s beginning to show with Donovan Mitchell is more impressive than his individual performances. The duo took turns dicing up the Hornets’ defense in the fourth quarter and throughout overtime to pull out the win as they combined for 75 points.’s Chris Fedor talks about what the win over the Atlanta Hawks meant to the Cavs after the end of last year.

Monday mattered. Cleveland’s early-game focus, energy, urgency and intensity spoke volumes. The Cavs led by 12 at the end of the first quarter. They were up by five at halftime. Despite a sloppy, turnover-filled third quarter, they were still ahead by three going into the fourth.

This time, the Cavs finished.

They outscored Atlanta 29-20 in the decisive fourth, using a late 11-2 surge to push the lead to a game-high 15 points and get their first bit of revenge.