Game 17: Trail Blazers at Cavs
Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio
WHAT HAPPENED: The hope was that the Cavs got over their problems closing out games after their exciting win over Atlanta on Friday.
No, that's not the case. The Cavs blew an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter and allowed the Blazers to send it into overtime.
The teams played 58 minutes of basketball during the two-overtime affair. It came after both teams played on the road the night before.
The teams were tied at 91 after the fourth quarter and 103 after the first overtime period. The Cavs dodged a bullet at the end of the first OT when Blazers forward Nicolas Batum's 12-foot jumper was overturned by video review.
The video couldn't help them at the end of the second OT. Let's set this up for a second. Cavs forward Alonzo Gee was at the foul line with 2.5 seconds left. He split two free throws, which had much to do with this loss. Had he made both free throws, the Cavs would have been up by three, 118-115. Gee is the Cavs' best free-throw shooter at 83.9 percent.
After a time out, which advanced the ball to half court, Batum ran off a pick and received a pass in the corner - directly in front of the Cavs' bench. He turned and buried the 24-foot, 3-point goal with 0.2 seconds left. How the heck can that happen? Where were the defenders?
His clutch shot eradicated an encouraging game from rookie center Tyler Zeller, who finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. The only negative to his game was when he passed up an open look, tried to drive to the basket and was whistled for traveling.
Other than that, he was quite good. He'll continue to get minutes if he makes shots.
The other rookie, guard Dion Waiters, might not play on Monday in Detroit. He was limping noticeably after the game. I was standing in the locker room. He came to get something out of his locker. He sure didn't look like he was ready to guard Rodney Stuckey to me.
I would be surprised if he even travels to the Motor City. That's still to be determined. The Cavs might send out an injury report on Sunday.
Another angle to the Batum shot was whether the Cavs made an offer to him in free agency. Some say they did. He never signed the offer sheet. He did sign one from Minnesota, which was matched by Portland. Batum would have been an interesting player for the Cavs at small forward. He would have been the starter at "3," and not Gee. Batum can shoot the ball, can defend and is still a young player.
I went down to ask Batum before the game, but never found him in the locker room. I ran into J.J. Hickson instead.
UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Detroit to face the Pistons at 7:30 p.m. Monday at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Nicolas Batum (6-8, 210)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. LeMarcus Aldridge (6-11, 255)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 260) vs. J.J. Hickson (6-9, 239)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Wesley Matthews (6-5, 214)
PG Jeremy Pargo (6-2, 219) vs. Damian Lillard (6-3, 195)
Cavs – F Kevin Jones, G Kyrie Irving
Blazers - G Elliot Williams, F Victor Claver
Ed Malloy, Mark Lindsay, Leon Wood