The Cavaliers began their six-game road trip Friday in Portland against the Blazers. Fortunately for Cleveland, Portland was without their two leading scorers in Damian Lillard(Abdomen) and C.J. McCollum(Lung), and they were missing Larry Nance Jr.(Knee).
Cleveland led 57-47 at halftime and would take an 82-78 lead into the fourth. After Nassir Little’s three cut the lead to 90-87 with just over eight minutes left, the Cavs went on a 7-0 run to push the lead to 10 and would defeat Portland 114-101 at Moda Center.
With the win over the Blazers, the Cavs(22-17) swept the season series and won in Portland for first time since 2013.
Portland(14-24) has lost two straight and six of their last seven.
Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Blazers:
The Great for the Cavaliers:
-Darius Garland continued his strong play after returning from COVID. He scored eight of his 26 points in the fourth. Garland also added six assists. This was his sixth straight 20-plus point game as he continues to make his case for being an All-Star.
The third-year guard, who made a game-high tying five threes, had an incredible sequence late in the fourth. With the Cavs leading by eight with just over two minutes to go, he assisted on a dunk from Evan Mobley and made a great hustle play, where he made a steal and got credited with a basket after Jusuf Nurkic was called for a goaltend.
-Evan Mobley had another solid all-around game. He scored 18 points, pulled down eight rebounds, dished out three assists, added two blocks and a steal.
-Cedi Osman is back after missing six games due to COVID, and he was huge in the fourth. Osman scored 12 of his 14 points in the final period, including four threes off the Cavs’ bench. After Portland cut the t0 101-96 with just over three minutes to go, Osman would hit a big three to push the lead to eight.
The fifth-year forward continues to give Cleveland great production off the bench this season.
-Rajon Rondo made his Cavs’ debut Friday night and recorded a season-high 11 points off the bench. In addition, the 16-year veteran added five rebounds and three assists in 17 minutes of action.
Rondo got off to a great start and had three points, three rebounds, and three assists in five minutes of action in the first quarter.
-Jarrett Allen had his third straight double-double following his return from COVID. Allen had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and a team-best +16 rating.
The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:
Rebounding: Portland outrebounded the Cavs 51-43 and outscored them 21-10 in second-chance points. Cleveland overcame the glass on this night, but you don’t want this to be an issue going forward.
Portland was without their two best players, so this was a game Cleveland should have won.
However, that does not take away from what we saw from Garland, who made big plays in the fourth; Osman, who caught fire in the final quarter; and Rondo, who gave this team a professional point guard off the bench.
“It was fun; the first couple plays were kinda like, `Dang, that’s Rondo on the floor.'” Garland said.
Cleveland continues their six-game road trip Sunday night against the Warriors, who are expected to have Klay Thompson back, which should make for a fun night in San Francisco.
Best of the Rest:
Portland had five players in double figures led by Norman Powell’s 19 points. Nurkic added 14 points and 12 rebounds.
-Lauri Markkanen added 15 points and five assists for the Cavaliers.