James and Gooden boost Cleveland past woeful Blazers
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – LeBron James posted 27 points, nine
rebounds and six steals, as Cleveland beat Portland, 99-84, at Quicken Loans
Drew Gooden scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the
Cavaliers, who snapped a three-game losing streak and won their fifth straight
game on St. Patrick’s Day. Ronald Murray scored 16 points, and Zydrunas
Ilgauskas scored 15.
Sebastian Telfair scored 24 points off the bench for the Trail Blazers, who
lost their third straight. Steve Blake and Zach Randolph scored 17 points
apiece, and Darius Miles added 12 points, but Portland fell for the 17th time
in 20 games.
Cleveland started the third quarter on a 13-2 spurt, highlighted by six points
each from James and Ilgauskas, to take a 66-45 lead with 7:07 left. The Cavs
led 79-62 heading into the fourth, in which the Blazers cut their deficit by
only four points for the final margin.
“We couldn’t get any defensive stops and they basically did whatever they
wanted to do,” Randolph said. “We came out and had a really bad third quarter.
We just couldn’t finish it out. They ran off with it.”
Cleveland led 25-22 after the first quarter. The Cavs improved upon their
lead by seven points in the second to open a 53-43 cushion at halftime.
The Cavs outscored Portland 58-34 in points in the paint, and outrebounded
the Blazers 47-36.
“A lot of those points we got because we drove the basketball against their
zone,” Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. “When we drove the basketball, we were
able to dish it to guys like Drew [Gooden] and Z [Ilgauskas] for easy dunks or
easy scores. When we get guys posting as aggressively as we did tonight, we’ll
get good things down in the paint.”
Cleveland returned home for a four-game stand after going 1-3 on a four-game
road trip. The Cavaliers, who will also host the Lakers, Charlotte and Boston
on the current stand, are a solid 23-10 at home this season..Portland played
the third of a four-game road trip. It is a dismal 6-28 on the road this
season, and is scheduled to visit the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday. The Trail
Blazers have lost nine in a row as the visitor…This was the second and final
meeting of the season between the clubs. On January 15th, Randolph scored 16
points and hit two key free throws with 47 seconds remaining as Portland
knocked off Cleveland, 89-87, at the Rose Garden…The Blazers have lost three
straight at Cleveland.