Trail Blazers vs Sixers Saturday, 03/19/11 AT 07:00PM

Trail Blazers Steamroll Cavaliers For Season Sweep

03/17/11
  1. Written by: Grant Lucas  / avg. rating: 5.0


    Not much, if any, doubt was left at the Rose Garden on Thursday night, where, from the opening tip to the final horn, the Portland Trail Blazers (39-29) dominated the Cleveland Cavaliers (13-54) en route to a 111-70 victory.

    The Trail Blazers built an early 24-2 lead and held the Cavaliers to one made field goal for more than 11 minutes until Baron Davis pocketed a buzzer-beating three-pointer. From there, Portland extended its lead to as many as 44 before settling for the 41-point win and completing its first sweep of Cleveland since 2002-03.

    "We really haven't had a lot of games like this where, from start to finish, stayed focused," Head Coach Nate McMillan said. "(We) weren't trying to embarrass Cleveland or anything like that, just work on our game and try to get better. We know we're going to need to get better and we had a game plan. I thought the guys went out and executed it tonight."

    LaMarcus Aldridge paced the Trail Blazer onslaught with 20 points to go along with 11 rebounds, while Gerald Wallace chipped in 17 points, six assists and five boards. Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews each tallied 14 points, and Rudy Fernandez and Patty Mills added 13 and 11 points, respectively.

    "We came out, played with energy, came out with the focus to put them away early," Aldridge said. "They were on a back-to-back so we had energy, came out strong, and got a big lead early."

    Ramon Sessions was the only Cleveland starter to reach double figures with 14 points, while reserves Daniel Gibson and Manny Harris put up 12 and 10 points, respectively.

    "A good, old-fashioned butt whooping," Cleveland Coach Byron Scott called the contest. "Our team is just so soft mentally, it's unbelievable... Guys didn't have any focus on what we were doing, and it trickled down from one guy to the last guy. We got exactly what we deserved."

    Defense lifted the Trail Blazers, who held the Cavaliers to just 35.6 percent shooting - 27.3 percent through three quarters - all while converting 19 Cleveland turnovers into 28 points and tying Portland's franchise low of six assists allowed.

    "We just tried to play good D," Aldridge said. "We felt last game against Dallas, our defense really wasn't that good. We ended up winning the game but they shot 66 percent or something like that, so we didn't feel good about that. So the whole purpose tonight was defense, and our defense made easy offense."

    Portland controlled nearly every facet of the game, outrebounding its opponent 45-29 overall and 15-7 on the offensive glass, outmuscling Cleveland 62-30 in points in the paint and shooting 54.2 percent from the floor.

    "It was a great team effort on both ends of the court, offensively and defensively," Wallace said. "I think our energy and our focus was in tune with what we had to do and we came out and executed to a perfect T."

    Portland opened the game on an 24-2 run, hitting 10 of its first 13 shots and highlighted by a breakaway one-hand throw down by Wallace midway through the first.

    The Trail Blazers finished the first shooting nearly 70 percent from the floor, outscoring Cleveland 37-12, a season-best for most points in a quarter for Portland. The Cavaliers hit just two buckets in the period, missing 12 straight shots during an 11:09 field goal drought.

    "We told ourselves after the first quarter that it wasn't about them, it was about us," Wallace said. "Especially with me coming in, there's still a lot of things we want to work on, we wanted to execute. We've had some let-up in some games where we gave teams opportunites to get back into games. Our main thing was don't even worry about the scoreboard. Let's execute offensively and defensively. Focus on what we need to do and get it done."

    The Trail Blazers carried a 64-34 advantage into the half, converting 10 Cavalier turnovers into 18 points while shooting 56.5 percent from the floor. Wallace and Aldridge led the way with 15 and 14 points, respectively, as every Trail Blazer that saw action tallied a field goal.

    Similar to the opening period, Portland came out firing in the second half, stringing a 9-0 rally at the beginning of the third to extend its lead to 39 points. That ballooned to 89-45 when Camby flushed a touch-pass from Wallace late in the quarter.

    Cleveland closed the gap to 31 midway through the fourth, but a three from Batum and a fastbreak lay-up by Mills put the Trail Blazers back up 100-64. Mills later buried Portland's 11th three-ball of the game to seal the 111-70 victory.

    Portland will continue its three-game homestand with a matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers (35-33) on Saturday night.

    "We can keep the same mindset coming into the game," Wallace said. "These last 14 (games), we'll be tough to beat. Defensively we were in tune with everything we were supposed to do and offensively, our execution was great. I think our main thing is we've got to keep our focus."

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