The Blazers extended the Cavaliers record setting losing streak to 24 with their 111-105 win on Saturday night, ending their own modest two game skid. Wes Matthews led the way with 31 points for the Blazers, who had one their better offensive outputs in recent weeks.
Portland used a rare brilliant performance from beyond the arc to pull this one out over the floundering Cavs. Wesley Matthews and Nic Batum combined to go 10 for 13 from three point territory and the Blazers went 12 for 19 as a team. Batum had 13 of his 21 points in a back and forth third quarter that ended with a 3 point Blazer lead.
Portland threatened to pull away on multiple occasions, including early in the fourth when they scored on 11 of 12 possessions. A Patty Mills jumper gave them a 90-83 lead, but the Cavs quickly responded with a Manny Harris three and a Ryan Hollins dunk and-one to cut the lead to one.
Minutes later, the Blazers scored nine unanswered on a 12-1 run that featured a Rudy Fernandez triple and an Andre Miller jumper, which opened up a 1o point lead with five minutes left. The Cavaliers, however, would answer back once again. Anthony Parker nailed a three and Antwan Jamison had a traditional three-point play as part of a 10-2 response that trimmed the margin to two with 90 seconds left.
Andre Miller passed up his shot in lieu of distributing most of the night, but he scored six of his seven points in the final minutes, highlighted by a clutch fall way jumper from 12-feet to push the lead back for four with a minute to go.
On the following possession, Ramon Sessions missed a point blank layup off a fortuitous bounce that would have cut the lead to two and that would prove to be Cleveland’s last gasps. Two Rudy Fernandez free throws closed the books on the record setting 24th consecutive loss for the Cavs, as Portland was able to escape with a much needed victory.
It’s hard to say any team needs a win more than the moribund Cavs, who are missing their two best players and are slogging through a dark post-Lebron campaign. But the Blazers had already fallen behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff position after two consecutive defeats, and were just 9-17 on the season on the road entering the game.
“For us, we didn’t want to put added pressure on ourselves,” coach Nate McMillan said. “It’s more than just being the team that lost to Cleveland first. We had dropped two games on this trip and we knew we needed to play better.”
Wes Matthews, who posted his fourth 30 point game of the year, was aggressive getting to the hoop in addition to his prowess from downtown. LaMarcus Aldridge had his usual 20 points and 1o rebounds, and Rudy Fernandez added 17 off the bench.
Cleveland had seven players in double figures, but again couldn’t come up with the clutch bucket late, allowing Portland to hold on. Antwan Jamison had 17 and Ramon Sessions posted 15 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists, on 7-11 from the floor, but was unable to get that critical last one to fall.
About the Author
Written by Brandon Marcus
I am 25 year old native New Yorker. I went to the University of Florida where I got my degree Sports Management. I am a die hard fan of the New York Giants, Knicks, Mets and the movie, Die Hard. I'll be covering the Portland Trail Blazers, but also will keep my eye on the league as a whole, and will drop in from time to time with some random thoughts.