Post-mortem: Cavs 106, Trail Blazers 94
Second half: Solid interior play from Shaquille O'Neal, timely play from Mo and Jawad Williams pulled this one out.
LeBron ripped off 31 points in the first half, but only scored 10 in the second, primarily because the Trail Blazers started to double him up. The strategy was successful for a while as the Blazers overcam a 17-point deficit to tie the game at 87 with 6:46 left in the game. You can't say the Cavs were shocked by the turn of events, but they didn't respond until late. Ultimately forward Anderson Varejao, Mo Williams and a couple of clutch three-pointers by Jawad Williams, who is seeing more playing time, proved to be enough to nudge them over the edge and help them to pull away.
First half: Red hot shooting (65 percent from the floor) has the Cavs dominating this game. Tbhey're leading in the paint and right now are killing the Trail Blazers on the boards 22-13. LeBron is having a career game with 31 points in the first half.
Game: Cavs at Portland Trail Blazers Broadcast: TV: ESPN and FSOhio Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM). Starters: Cavs: LeBron James (F); J.J. Hickson(F); Shaquille O'Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G).
Trail Blazers: Martell Webster (F); LaMarcus Aldridge (F); Juwon Howard (C); Brandon Roy (G); Andre Miller (G). Injured:
Cavs: Jamario Moon (abdominal strain), Leon Powe (left knee surgery) - are out.
Blazers: Nicolas Batum (right shoulder), Rudy Fernandez (sciatic pain), Greg Oden (left knee), Travis Outlaw (left foot) and Joel Przybilla (right knee) are out ... LaMarcus Aldridge (left ankle), Steve Blake (pneumonia), Andre Miller (back) and Brandon Roy (right hamstring) are probable.
Officials: Joey Crawford, Tony Brothers and Phil Robinson.
The big question out of Portland had been how the Trail Blazers would react to a little verbal spat between point guard Andre Miller and coach Nate McMillan that lasted 30 minutes. A victory against the Los Angeles Lakers the other night says: everything, for now, is cool. Let's see whether it was emotional residue or if it sticks.
Here's the Cavs' reality: LeBron James is going to show up. He always shows up. Even when he's not shooting the best, he manages to dictate the tempo in other ways. But the Cavs need Mo Williams. That's their reality. The Cavs are 12-3 when Mo scores 20 or more and they need him to show up almost every night to have a chance.