Blazers 98, Cavs 104 Re-Thoughts


Why did the Blazers lose? It’s simple really. LeBron James and Mo Williams went…to…work. Not the refs. But those two.

There isn’t much more than that. And Bron-Bron doing what he did was obvious. But the guy who killed us was Mo Williams. Ladies and gents, Mo Williams went to work on Portland for the second consecutive year in the Rose Garden. Last year he was with the punchless Bucks so we were able to overcome. Not so much this year. He scared me before the game, scared me during and made me shake my head after. 33 points off 12/19 shooting with 6 three’s? Come on now. If you had told me Mo Williams was going to drop 33 tonight I would have wrote the pre-thoughts with ‘Portland is going to lose tonight’. Remember when people were shaking their head that LeBron finally got another scorer by his side? Those people will point to this game.

To pile on top of Mo’s performance was the overall team play of the Cavs. Coup wrote in his pre-thoughts that despite the greatness of LeBron you can’t let the rest of the guys beat you. To win we couldn’t let Cleveland’s shooters beat us. Well…they beat us. Mo Williams dropped 6 three’s, LeBron had 3 and Wally dropped 2. Energy guys Varejao, Big Ben and JJ Hickson combined for 21 points and 4 offensive rebounds. Wally, Pavlovic and Gibson combined for 16. And let us not forget about LeBron James. LeBron James is the best player on the planet right now. It’s not even a contest. He’s so good that it is plain stupid at this point. 34 points, 14 assists and 7 rebounds? Come on. In this game, LeBron was directly responsible for at least 68 of the Cavs 104 points. Disgusting when you think about it like that right? Even more disgusting was his play in the 4th quarter. Just stupid. Portland had no answer for LeBron James tonight and it was a major factor in why Portland lost. Period.

Another factor in why Portland lost? Cleveland came into the Rose Garden and shot 52.6% from the field (41-for-78) and 57.9% from behind the arc (11-for-19). I don’t care what team you play against you cannot give up those kind of numbers and expect to win. Especially not against one of the elite teams in the NBA which sports LeBron James. The Blazers gave it their best to come back but by the time they showed some energy in the second half it was over. Cleveland made the winning plays down the stretch and Portland was spent. Not to mention we let Wally’s World come in and get 10 rebounds including 4 offensive ones. Come on now. We go from beast mode against the Bucks to letting Wally get 4 offensive rebounds? Come on. I didn’t think if Ben Wallace and Varejao only combined for 11 rebounds that we’d get out-rebounded but we sure did.

All in all it’s hard to gather if this was a disappointing loss or something we should have expected. Cleveland’s lost 8 of their 40 games so it was going to be tough no matter what. But even after everything I typed above the Blazers were still in this game. Brandon struggled offensively as did LaMarcus while Travis and Rudy shot the ball poorly. Shots that we’re used to seeing #7 make didn’t go in. LMA got out-rebounded by Wally. Portland ended up getting to the line 33 times to Cleveland’s 15. Portland had their runs and even took the lead late but by then Cleveland was in a groove and responded very quickly. Portland has got to start dictating more at home, especially on the defensive end. Teams are able to get into a rhythm against us. And we’re seeing a disturbing trend of slow starts from the Blazers. Sure, the game may have been “close” in the first quarter but let’s dig deeper. That proximity was more because of Portland finding ways to score. Check this out: Cleveland made 12-of-19 shots in the first quarter and collected 4 offensive rebounds which means that really Portland barely got a few stops early. The Blazers can’t allow for teams to get in a rhythm early and expect to come out victorious. It’s just not going to happen, especially not against the cream of the crop of the NBA.

Portland now drops to 11-13 against teams over .500. At this point we can compete with the really good teams we just don’t have the consistent greatness to beat them. And isn’t that about where we should be at this point? It feels like the difference between competing with these teams and beating these teams will come when our defense steps it up on a consistent basis. The only question is when do these losses start to hurt more? When should we expect to win these types of games? I don’t have the answer to those questions. Only time will tell. A good effort tonight by the Blazers but an overpowering and overwhelming performance by Cleveland led to the 5th home loss of the year.

At least Utah and Dallas lost.