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Cleveland Cavaliers

Gameblog: Cavs vs. Portland Trail Blazers

By George Thomas Published: March 19, 2009

Post mortem:  Cavs 97, Trail Blazers 92
Observations:

  • The Cavaliers showed some semblance of an inside offensive game in the second half, actually getting Zydrunas Ilgauskas established in the paint.  Ilgauskas took advantage of the opportunity scoring 12 points in the third quarter and adding another five between the fourth quarter and the first overtime.
  • The team played brilliantlly with the ball only turning it over two times during the entire game. It's unrealistic to expect this type of stinginess with the ball regularly, but on this night it definitely contributed to an impressive win by a team that wasn't playing its best offensively as they struggled to find their shots.
  • The starters needed the bench to step up tonight and give them some support.  Considering as a group they opened the game shooting 5-of-20 from the floor, the 21 points the bench gave the team proved huge.  Mike Brown singled out Joe Smith (12 points, three rebounds and two blocks) and Daniel Gibson (eight points, 2-of-4 from behind the arc) for their efforts and rightly so.
Quotable:
Coach Mike Brown turning an ugly start into a victory:
It was ugly from the stgart, but our guys hung in there and they gave us an opportunity to win because they tried to defend. I'm amazed when I keep looking at this (box score) and I'm waiting for the turnover number to change.  Two turnovers - in an overtime game - was obviously the difference in the ballgame.
LeBron James on the team's defense:
Defensively, we were great.  We didn't allow them to get any easy buckets because we didn't turn the ball over. That allowed us to set our defense and that was great.  Sometimes when we haven't shot the ball well, we've let it affect our defense.  Tonight was different....Our defense actually went up a notch even though we didn't shoo the ball well early.
At the half: Trail Blazers 36, Cavs 34
Observations:
  • Sitting on pressrow I thought that this just might have been the ugliest half of hoops I've seen all season.  The Cavs shot 31 percent from the floor and lest we think the Blazers are that much better, they shot a whopping 34 percent.  Gee, how do I contain my enthusiasm?  Perhaps it's just a defensive struggle between two good teams, but given the number of shots that have been off, I doubt it.  Cavs starters are a combined 7-of-31 from the field. 
  • The Cavs are being slammed on the boards - 29 to 22  in favor of the Trail Blazers.  This with the Blazers missing LaMarcus Aldridge, one of their top three rebounders.
Game:  Cavs vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Broadcast:  TV: TNT. Radio:  WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters:  Cavs:  LeBron James (F); Anderson Varejao (F); Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C); Delonte West (G); Mo Williams (G). Trail Blazers:  Travis Outlaw  (F); Channing Frye (F); Joe Przybilla (C); Brandon Roy (G); Steve Blake (G). 
Injured-inactive:  Cavs:  Ben Wallace (knee); Wally Szczerbiak (knee), Eric Snow (knee).  Trail Blazers:  Raef LaFrentz (shoulder); Martell Webster (foot) are out.  Aldridge (concussion) is doubtful and Batum (ankle) is questionable.
Streaking:  The Cavs are winner of six consecutive. The Trail Blazers have won two in a row.
This year:  The Cavaliers took the first game in Portland 104-98 and what turned out to be a thriller.  LeBron James and Mo Williams combined to score 67 points for the Cavaliers.  Brandon Roy hit 23 and LaMarcus Aldridge added 21.
Officials:  Bennett Salvatore, Tommy Nunez Jr. and Sean Corbin.
What to watch:
  • The Cavs are the league’s best home team.  Portland is one of the league’s worst road teams.  That, however, hasn’t stopped them from winning their last two away from Portland’s Rose Garden. Yes, I know it was against the Indianapolis Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies, but wins are wins.  The Cavs control their destiny with respect to the No. 1 seed; there’s no reason to take the foot off the accelerator now.
  • Delonte West on Brandon Roy.  Roy, who is averaging 23 points per game presents a stern test for Delonte West.  While he’s likely to see help from LeBron James, West will have to have one of his better defensive games.
Quotable:
From the locker room office:
Mo Williams on whether recent comments by Stan Van Gundy, coach of the Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics' Doc Rivers regarding whether either team can catch the Cavs for hte top spot in the Eastern Conference:
They’re just saying that.  I’m pretty sure they’re still shooting for it.  We just have to be consistent.  The ball is in our court, we just have to be consistent and win the games that we’re supposed to win and win the games they say we won’t.
LeBron James on the same:
Of course it is (a tactic).  There’s way too many games to be trying to concede who’s first seed, second seed and third seed.  I think the first three seeds are pretty much locked up if guys continue to play well like they’ve been doing.
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