Cavaliers outplayed by Blazers in terrible 103-95 loss  
            BY TIM SHIRER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - After a convincing win 128-105 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night the Cleveland Cavaliers (10-8, 5-5 home) welcomed the Portland Trail Blazers (5-12, 3-7 away) to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Thursday night.

The contest was the second of two meetings this season between the Cavs and Trail Blazers. The first meeting was in Portland at the Moda Center on November 15, when the Cavs won 109-95. Since both teams entered the NBA in 1970 the Trail Blazers lead the all-time series 72-59. The Cavs do have the edge in Cleveland at the Cleveland Arena, Richfield Coliseum and RMFH 38-27. Entering the game, the Cavs had won the last five meetings with Portland. It’s the longest win streak against the Trail Blazers since they won six in a row from 2008-10. The result on Thursday night was an example of why they play the games and the talent on paper sometimes doesn’t translate to the court as the Blazers stunned the Cavs 103-95.

The first few minutes of the game were close, but with 8:10 left in the first quarter the Cavs started to put some space between them and the Blazers taking a 12-6 lead on a fast break layup by Donovan Mitchell after a steal on the other end by Max Strus. All five starters had scored at this point including Jarrett Allen who had four points in the opening four minutes of the contest. With 6:24 left in the first quarter the Blazers trimmed the Cavs lead to 14-11 after a three pointer by Toumani Camara. After a traveling violation was called on Portland’s Scoot Henderson the Cavs extended their lead to 20-13 on a Mitchell layup and assist from Allen with 3:56 left on the first quarter clock. Then the Cleveland lead ballooned to 10 points at 25-15 after a three pointer from Isaac Okoro and then a dunk by Allen on a fast break with 2:48 left in the first quarter. With just over a :42.1 left the Blazers cut the lead to 25-22 when Henderson drained a shot from outside and that was how the first quarter ended. Portland’s Deandre Ayton led all scorers with eight first quarter points. Evan Mobley and Allen led the Cavs with six points each. The Cavs had a slight edge on the boards 12-11. The Cavs shot 50% (12 of 24) while the Blazers shot 46% (10 of 22) from the field.

In the first 2:06 of the second quarter the Blazers committed four personal fouls including an elbow to the face of Darius Garland. The Cavs extended their lead to 33-22 on a layup by Mobley with 9:33 left on the clock. It was pretty apparent when Portland drew their fifth foul at the 9:06 mark of the quarter that they were not winning the physical battle. Things continued to get worse for the rebuilding Blazers when Georges Niang drained a three to give the Cavs a 36-24 lead with 8:46 left in the opening half. The Cavs biggest lead to that point came with 6:22 left when Mitchell took a Portland turnover and turned into a layup to give the Cavs a 40-24 lead. The young Blazers were not going away as they cut the Cavs lead to 42-33 with 4:15 left when Malcom Brogdon was fouled by Allen and drained both free throws. The Cavs were also cold from the field missing their four straight shots including a dunk by Mitchell, and six possessions total without scoring. The Blazer took advantage cutting the lead to just four points42-38 with 1:49 left in the half on a layup by Camara. The Cavs scoring drought came to an end when Strus dunked with :57 left in the quarter then Mobley stole the ball and dunked giving the Cavs a 46-38 lead. When the first half buzzer sounded the Cavs, lead was only six at 46-40. Mobley led all scorers with 10 first half points. Shaedon Sharpe led Portland with nine points. The Blazers ended up with a slight advantage on the board with 22 while the Cavs pulled down 20. A big factor in the first half was the 13 turnovers committed by Portland that led to 19 Cavs points. Although the Cavs had their share of mistakes with 10 turnovers leading to 10 Portland points. The Cavs dominated in the paint 28-18.

The second half began as the Mobley show as he scored the Cavs first six points of the half capped off by two free throws with 10:12 left after being fouled by Sharpe, it was Sharpe’s second personal foul of the game. Garland capped the Cavaliers 8-0 run with 9:56 left when Blazers coach Chancey Billups had seen enough and called a timeout with the Cavs leading 54-40. Portland once again made a run aided by some sloppy Cavs play and cut the lead back below double digits at 59-50 with 7:21 left on a turnaround layup by Sharpe after a turnover by Garland. The lead was cut to 64-56 with 5:57 left on a three pointer by Grant. The Cavs got the lead expanded to 12 points at 70-58 with 3:52 left in the third when Mobley hit a hook shot after a Portland turnover for his 20th point of the game. The Trail Blazers fired back and scored then next four points cutting the lead to 70-62 when Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff had enough and called a timeout to calm his troops with 3:16 remaining in the third quarter. The Cavs hadn’t trailed since early in the first quarter and seemed to be in control, but it wasn’t comfortable, and Portland made the situation even more uncomfortable with 2:00 left in the third when they cut the Cavs lead to 70-67 on a three by Doup Reath and then the Blazers tied the game 70-70 with 1:27 left on a three by the impressive rookie Sharpe who not had 19 points. The Cavs regained the lead at 73-70 on the next trip down the floor with 1:09 left when Niang drove the lane, made the basket, and hit a free throw after being fouled by Jabari Walker his first of the game. After cutting it to 73-72 with :46 left the Blazers took the lead 74-73 with :08 left on a layup by Matisse Thybulle. The Cavs quickly regained the lead 75-74 as the quarter ended on an eight-foot jumper by Garland. The Blazers outscored the Cavs 34-39 in the third quarter. After three Mobley led everyone with 20 points and Sharpe paced Portland with 20. 

The Blazers took the lead back almost immediately in the fourth quarter when Sharpe hit a driving layup and was fouled. After he hit the foul shot the Blazer lead was 77-75. They extended the lead to 80-75 on a three pointer by Thybulle and then six points on a three by Sharpe with 10:35 left in regulation. The Cavs did cut the Blazer’s improbable lead to three on a triple by Strus and then tied the game at 83-83 when Garland splashed a three with 9:40 left. Once again, the Blazers struck back with a three and Thybulle was the culprit giving Portland an 86-83 lead with 8:21 remaining. Things continued to go south for the Cavs in the final period as Portland expanded their lead after a Cavs turnover to 88-83 on a slam dunk by Walker with 7:41left on the game clock. The Trail Blazer continued to take advantage of Cavs mistakes including another turnover to further increase their lead at 92-83 with 6:50 left on a dunk by Thybulle after a turnover by Mobley. Things got even worse just :42 later when Mobley could not finish a dunk the Blazer took the ball to the other end and Henderson hit Reath with a nice pass behind the three-point line and the Portland lead was now 95-83 with 6:09 left. Bickerstaff not one bit happy called a timeout to try and restore some order. With 4:38 left on the clock the Blazers lead was cut to 95-85 when Mitchell hit two free throws after being fouled by Reath, his second of the game. The lead was then cut to 95-87 with 3:44 left when Allen got the rebound on a Portland miss and threw it to Mitchell who went the rest of the way dunking it and igniting the crowd, the same crowd who was booing the home team just minutes earlier. Mitchell drew another foul on a fadeaway, he did not hit the shot but made both free throws with 2:59 left cutting the Portland lead to 95-89. The crowd knew what was going on as they loudly chanted defense and the Cavs responded by forcing a Portland turnover. The Cavs turned it into points when finished a dunk at the other end. The Blazer then increased their lead back to six at 97-91. It looked then as though the Cavs cut the lead back to four at 97-93 on a hook shot by Mobley. But it was overturned when it was ruled the shot clock had run out. The Blazers then increased the lead to 99-91 with just 1:33 left in regulation on a layup by Sharpe who now had 27 points. After a Portland foul the Cavs were in the penalty and Mitchell returned to the charity stripe hitting both to cut the Portland lead to 99-93 with 1:25 left. With 1:04 left Strus picked up his second foul in 11 seconds and his fifth of the game. The foul sent Brogdon to the line. The Cavs challenged the foul call and lost. Brogdon then converted both free throws putting the Cavs in real trouble down 101-93 with 1:04 left on the clock. The lid seemed to be closed on the Cavs basket as they could not make a shot from the field on their next possession. Strus then committed his sixth foul and the game was pretty much over as Sharpe hit both free throws with :34.4 left giving the Blazers a 103-93 lead. After Garland cut the score to 103-95 the Blazer held the ball until the shot clock ran out and then the final :03.4 ran off the clock sealing the Cavs loss 103-95 sending the crown home disappointed.

The former Kentucky Wildcat and Canadian Sharpe led all scorers with 29 points. The second year first round pick (7th overall, 2022) scored 20 of the 29 in the second half leading the comeback by Portland. Mitchell led the Cavs with 23 points in the disappointing loss. Mobley had 20 points and eight boards but was held scoreless in the final quarter. Allen scored 12 and pulled down 10 boards.  

As a team the Cavs were simply outworked by Portland. The Blazers outrebounded the Cavs 40-35. From the 7:31 mark of the third quarter the Blazers outscored the Cavs 53-36.

The Cavs will play next on Saturday, hoping to rebound from the terrible loss when they travel to Detroit to play the Pistons at Little Caesar’s Arena at 7 pm. This will be the second of four meetings between the Cavs and their Central Division rival. The Cavs won the first meeting on November 17th at RMFH 108-100. The Piston lead the all-time series 132-102 and have the edge in Detroit 79-38. 
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​POSTED 11/30/2023 21:47
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