PORTLAND, Ore. – The winter storm warning that resulted in a treacherous bus ride to the Moda Center was the Cleveland Cavaliers’ least concern on Friday night.
The Cavs spoke like an awakened team after their embarrassing loss two nights earlier. Head coach JB Bickerstaff was expecting a different, more enthusiastic group. Not as much. Cleveland was struck down by Portland, 129-110. It’s a sixth straight loss that drops the Cavs to the third worst record in the Eastern Conference.
After the Trail Blazers won an emotional and grueling win against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night, the Cavs needed a quick start. Instead, they opened the game 2-of-11 from the field. It was only six minutes before the game was lost. The Cavs were 22: 4 behind in the middle of the first quarter – and could not recover.
“Obviously we have a tough time against very good teams in a difficult time,” said Bickerstaff. “These teams come out, playoff teams that are starving for every win and know that we are in this rut and they try to jump on us early not to trust us. We just have to keep competing, we have to stick together and we have to find out. “
Andre Drummond quickly broke up after getting up after two early mistakes. He’s taped another miserable night on the bench for the last 17 minutes. Drummond scored eight points, five rebounds and two assists in 3-of-9. With Blaummers on the floor, the Blazers outperformed the Cavs by 20 points in 17 minutes, continuing a nasty trend.
“We need him to be the best version of ourselves,” Bickerstaff said of Drummond. “It’s up to us as coaches, it’s up to the team to help them be the best version of themselves. Much of our early success was due to the way he played on both ends of the floor. We have to help him get back to that level because we need him to play like that. “
Jarrett Allen, who returned to a reserve role after two starts, ended with 22 points and six rebounds. Collin Sexton got an insignificant 25 points.
Cleveland was the best defensive team in the league early in the season and had no answer to the understaffed Blazers who played without CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic. Columbus-born Gary Trent Jr. led with 26 points. Carmelo Anthony poured 23 points off the bench in 20 minutes. Enes Kanter scored 21 points and got 13 rebounds. Damian Lillard added 20 points and nine templates.
The Cavs knew this road trip would be a test. You would learn a lot about yourself. They have. Not a good way.
Suddenly a fun, promising start has completely disappeared. They are completely lost with a lot of soul searching before they bottom out – if not already there.
Injured backup point guard Matthew Dellavedova, who has not played this season due to a severe concussion, trained in the team’s practice facility on Friday afternoon. Dellavedova tweeted about the meeting, saying he believed the injury had more to do with his neck and “can’t wait for the boys to return from the road trip”.
Bickerstaff spoke to Dellavedova on Thursday.
“I’m just glad he’s getting better,” said Bickerstaff. “The most important thing for us is that he feels better. You think of the tribute that affects you not only physically but also mentally, and for him the only thing that matters is when he’s in a better place. We’re going to work out the basketball piece, whatever that looks like, but I’m just excited to make him feel better. From the conversations we’ve had, he’s definitely gotten a lot better. We hope it stays that way and we’ll work on the basketball piece from there. “
The Cavs make their third stop on this five game road trip when they play against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday night. The tip is set to 10 p.m.
New Cavs Face Masks For Sale: Here, you can purchase Cleveland Cavaliers-themed face covers for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a 3-pack ($ 24.99). All NBA proceeds were donated to charity.
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