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Find out the scoop on the CAVS from award-winning sports writer Bob Finnan.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Game 24: Trail Blazers at Cavs

Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: The Cavs lost to the hottest team in the NBA tonight. The Trail Blazers have the best overall record (22-4) and best road record (12-2). They've also won five in a row after tonight's game.

Coach Terry Stotts' club has firepower, starting with the head of the snake, point guard Damian Lillard. He was the Rookie of the Year last year. He's a pure scorer, who can also distribute to his team's vast arsenal.

He really took it to Kyrie Irving on Tuesday. Of course, Lillard buried the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left. He, obviously, got up for the matchup against Irving.

Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge is having a fantastic season, as evidenced by his back-to-back Western Conference Player of the Week honors. He's not necessarily a banger down low, but he can score in the post. He likes to shoot mid-range jumpers and draw his defender away from the basket.

He's so long. It's impossible to get a hand on his shot. He ended with 15 rebounds. The Blazers embarrassed the Cavs on the boards, 56-44.

Cavs power forward Tristan Thompson brought his hard hat, but he was no match for Aldridge. In fact, he almost looked small standing next to him.

He faces some of the top NBA talent night in and night out. The last time, he faced one of the top power forwards in the West, the Clippers' Blake Griffin, he dominated the matchup. That wasn't the case on Tuesday.

Thompson called the 6-11 Aldridge an MVP candidate on Monday. LeBron James might be the frontrunner, but Aldridge is in the running, which is really saying something.

Old friend Mo Williams will be making his lone appearance at The Q tonight. He was fired up with nine points and six assists.

When talking to Cavs coach Mike Brown, who said he loved coaching Williams, I thought back to the Boston playoff series in 2010. The 6-1 Williams threw down a dunk in Game 1 of that series. I remember asking Brown in the postgame press conference if he even knew Williams could dunk. He was flummoxed, and said he had never seen him dunk even in practice.

Despite the loss, the Cavs are playing their best basketball of the season. As you know, there's no moral victories in the NBA. They had a four-game winning streak snapped at home.

The Cavs really took care of the ball tonight. They had a season-low six turnovers. Irving didn't have any. 

But they couldn't overcome getting pushed around under the boards.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host Milwaukee at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Quicken Loans Arena.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Nicolas Batum (6-8, 220)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. LaMarcus Aldridge (6-11, 250)
C Andrew Bynum (7-0, 294) vs. Robin Lopez (7-0, 265)
SG C.J. Miles (6-6, 231) vs. Wesley Matthews (6-5, 214)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Damian Lillard (6-3, 195)
Cavs - G/F Carrick Felix, C Henry Sims
Trail Blazers - G C.J. McCollum, F Victor Claver
John Goble, Kane Fitzgerald, Eli Roe


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