* The Cavaliers need a victory tonight to avoid slipping behind the Washington Wizards and at least temporarily becoming the worst team in the league. The Wizards, who have won three straight, begin a West Coast trip tonight in Sacramento. One more victory, coupled with a Cavs loss, would give the Cavs the worst record in the NBA.
* Byron Scott said he's disappointed, but not embarrassed by the Cavs' record. "We know we're trying to build something here and we're trying to do it the right way," Scott said. "Is it going to take a little longer than people expect? Yeah, probably so. But I'm not embarrassed with the team we have here. I see the promise. I see some of the players we have and I know we're building it the right way."
* The Cavs have not fared well against Portland lately, losing four straight, including a crushing double-overtime loss at home in December that was one of the more difficult losses in a season filled with them. Kyrie Irving missed that game with his fractured finger, but said this morning that night is on the minds of the Cavs' players tonight.
* The Blazers have won four straight in this series, and the last two at The Rose Garden have been blowouts, with the Blazers winning by an average of 30 points.
* The matchup between Irving and Damian Lillard could be the reigning Rookie of the Year against the future winner. Top overall pick Anthony Davis has been hobbled with injuries, while Lillard leads all rookies in scoring (18.2 ppg), field goals (246), free throws (112), assists (6.5 apg) and minutes (38.4 mpg).
* The Cavs absolutely loved Lillard last summer, even sending a scout to his private workout on the West Coast prior to the draft, but felt they couldn't take him because they already had Irving. "The numbers he's putting up, he's making a strong case for rookie of the year," Irving said. "It's always good to see young point guards come into the league and take over the way he's doing."
* J.J. Hickson is enjoying a career rebirth with the Blazers. After a miserable season last year in Sacramento, which ended with his release, Hickson has grown up a little and is playing some of the best basketball of his career. He had nine consecutive double-doubles during the month of December, one shy of Anderson Varejao's impressive streak around the same time. Hickson is fifth in rebounding (11.0), fourth in double-doubles (21) and sixth in offensive rebounds (145).
* The Blazers should be at a disadvantage tonight because of the amount of minutes their starters typically play, plus the fact they lost in overtime last night in Denver. Four of the five starters average at least 35 minutes. Hickson is the only one under that, but he still is averaging 29 minutes. By comparison, Irving is the only Cavs' starter averaging at least 35 minutes.