Cavs travel to Portland, aiming to rebound from loss
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Trail Blazers and Cleveland Cavaliers will be coming into Wednesday night’s Moda Center matchup with different mindsets after opposite results on Tuesday.
The Trail Blazers outscored the Los Angeles Lakers 53-30 in the second half en route to a 108-87 victory Tuesday night at Staples Center.
The Cavaliers, meanwhile, fell behind early and never recovered in a 100-92 loss to Utah at EnergySolutions Arena.
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CJ McCollum topped the 20-point mark for the eighth straight game with a game-high 25 points for Portland (17-23), which beat the Lakers for the 10th consecutive time.
“I’ve been playing pretty efficiently over that stretch,” McCollum said. “I’m being aggressive, trying to make the right moves to help my team win.”
Damian Lillard scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half, most of them after a third-quarter altercation with the Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell that earned technical fouls for both players. Lillard was 1 for 10 from the field in the first half and 6 for 11 after intermission.
“You should always let sleeping dogs lie,” Portland forward Ed Davis said. “They woke him up. Bad move by them.”
The Blazers, who held the Lakers to 12 points in the third quarter. It was a season-low for any quarter by the Lakers and a season low for any quarter by a Blazer opponent.
“We did a good job of defending without fouling and getting back into transition to eliminate their easy baskets,” McCollum said. “That was the difference in the game.”
McCollum said he is looking forward to the Cavaliers’ annual visit to Portland.
“We’re both come off back-to-backs,” he said. “Cleveland is a very good team. We just have to take advantage of our home crowd and try to put on a show. It is going to be mind over matter.”
The Cavaliers (28-9) are 2-1 to start their six-game road trip, but coach Tyron Lue is not pleased with how they’re taking care of the ball. They had 20 turnovers in a Sunday win over Phoenix and 18 in the setback at Utah.
“If you turn the basketball over and you’re taking bad shots … if you don’t play the right way, it can come back to bite you,” Lue said.
The last time the Blazers and Cavaliers met up, Cleveland’s Kevin Love had a career game in a 137-125 victory Nov. 23 at Quicken Loans Arena. The Portland native scored 40 points, sinking 8 of 12 from 3-point range. Love had 34 points in the first quarter — three shy of Klay Thompson’s NBA record for points in any quarter — sinking 11 of 14 shots, including 8 of 10 from 3-point land. Love outscored the Blazers 34-31 during the Cavs’ 46-point first quarter.
Kyle Korver made his debut in a Cleveland uniform Tuesday night at Utah without the benefit of a practice or shootaround. The veteran guard, acquired Monday in a trade with Atlanta, was 0 for 2 on 3-point attempts and scored two points on 1-for-5 shooting.
Said teammate LeBron James: “The first thing I told him was, ‘If you want to fit in, shoot the ball every time you get it. Shoot it as soon as it touches your hands. Shoot it. We don’t care.'”
James said five Cavs have the “ultra green light” to shoot: Korver, Love, J.R. Smith, Channing Frye and James Jones.
“Then we got a green light for Kyrie (Irving), and a flashing light for myself,” James said.