Trail Blazers vs Cavaliers Saturday, 02/05/11 AT 04:30PM

Trail Blazers Frame Up Cavs For History Books

02/05/11
  1. Written by: Grant Lucas  / avg. rating: 5.0

    Quicken Loans Arena could be the site of a historical night if the Portland Trail Blazers (26-24) play their cards right. There, Portland, which has dropped four of the last five games after collecting five-straight wins, will work to hand the Cleveland Cavaliers (8-42) an NBA-record 24th consecutive loss. Tipoff for Saturday's matchup is set for 4:30 PM.

    Projected to start for the Trail Blazers are Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Joel Przybilla, Wesley Matthews and Andre Miller.

    This game is the tail end of a back-to-back for both squads, with Portland falling 100-87 against the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland coming up short against the Memphis Grizzlies 112-105.

    For the Trail Blazers, five players reached double figures, led by Rudy Fernandez, who tallied 19 points and five assists off the bench. Miller, Batum and Aldridge recorded 14 points apiece - with Aldridge adding 10 boards - but Portland shot just 36.4 percent on the night.

    Although Portland gave the ball up only 12 times, the Pacers took advantage, running the floor for 25 fastbreak points and holding the opposition to 33 points in the second half, all while outrebounding the Trail Blazers 58-39.

    Cleveland, on the other hand, held a lead through three quarters in Memphis, but couldn't hang on. The Grizzlies ran off with a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter to jump out in front and pull away for the victory, sending the Cavaliers to their 23rd-straight defeat that tied the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies and the 1997-98 Denver Nuggets for the longest single-season losing streak in NBA history.

    J.J. Hickson matched his career high with 31 points to go along with 15 rebounds, while Antawn Jamison added 19 points but missed 15 of his 22 shots including 7-of-8 from three-point range. Ramon Sessions chipped in with 20 points and 11 assists, but the shorthanded Cavaliers allowed Memphis to hit 51.2 percent of its attempts and outmuscle Cleveland for 54 points in the paint.

    Now, Portland heads to The Q, where the Trail Blazers have fallen seven-straight times, and although the Cavaliers have won six consecutive matchups overall, the team ranks in the NBA's cellar in point production at 94 points per game, while allowing more than 105.

    During the last five games, however, Portland has struggled from the floor, averaging a 40.8 shooting percentage and 87 points per contest - the lowest in the league in that time frame. On the flip side, during the last five games, the Cavaliers have allowed an NBA-high 113.2 points a night and have been outscored by more than 13 points per game.

    In last season's series, Aldridge averaged 20 points and 7.5 boards in two meetings against Cleveland, hitting 16 of his 24 shots from the field. Miller notched 17 points and 5.5 assists, as Portland shot 48.7 percent as a team.

    Among current Cavaliers, Anderson Varejao led the team with 17 points and nine rebounds per game, while Mo Williams added 15 points and six assists. Both, however, are sidelined with injuries. And while Daniel Gibson left the team for personal matters and Leon Powe hurt, Cleveland is left with a short-list roster.

    Similarly, Portland will be without Greg Oden, Elliot Williams, Brandon Roy and Marcus Camby, who are all down with knee injuries.

    Saturday night's contest will air on Comcast SportsNet with Mike Barrett and Mike Rice, while Brian Wheeler and Antonio Harvey will have the call on 95.5 FM The Game.

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