Cavs get first road win of the new year
The Cleveland Cavaliers started off the West Coast trip on the right foot after thwarting the Portland Trail Blazers, 114-101. With many of the key rotation guys back, the Cavs simply outmatched the undermanned Blazers team.
In his second game back, point guard Darius Garland once again led all scorers with 26 to go with six assists, while his favorite pick-and-roll buddy Jarrett Allen completed a double-double of 13 points and 13 boards in the win.
Despite leading for much of the game, the Cavs had a bit of a scare late in the fourth quarter as Portland pulled to within a possession, before several key baskets allowed Cleveland to run away with the double-digit win.
Without star guards Damian Lillard (abdomen) and CJ McCollum (lungs) and former Cleveland fan-favorite forward Larry Nance (knee), the Blazers once again relied heavily on big man Jusuf Nurkic, and guards Anfernee Simons and Norman Powell.
Fortunately, the Cavaliers did well enough on the defensive end as their offensive attack continued to click behind Garland’s leadership, allowing them to hold on to win their very first road game of the year.
The Cavs are rounding back to form
Supersub Cedi Osman had a good outing in his first game back in uniform, finishing with 14 points, while Cavs newcomer Rajon Rondo also slotted right in, finishing with 11 points and three assists off the bench.
While Kevin Love ended his hot shooting streak, Evan Mobley and Lauri Markkanen added a combined 33 points as the Tower City frontcourt continued to stand tall and smother the paint for Cleveland.
Now at 22-17, the Cavs will continue to play their next five assignments on the road against several potential Western Conference postseason contenders. But now back with a mostly complete lineup, they have a healthy chance to return from the trip with their winning record intact.
The Cavaliers’ arduous West Coast journey only gets tougher as they are set to face the Golden State Warriors, who are expected to welcome back All-Star Klay Thompson this Sunday, January 9.