The Cavaliers can almost taste it. Not quite, but almost. Sitting with a 4 game lead in the battle for the #1 seed in the East, with only 15 games to go(Boston only has 13 remaining), the Cavaliers are enjoying a heavy dose of home cooking. Only a trip to New Jersey on Sunday will disrupt a near two week stretch at The Q.
That continues tonight when Greg Oden, Brandon Roy and the Portland Trailblazers come to town tonight. The Blazers are in the midst of a 5-game road trip in which they have won the last two after dropping the opener. Last night, the Blazers went to Indiana and beat up on the Pacers 95-85, the 7th win in 10 games for Portland.
The Cavaliers beat Portland in their first match up of the season, 104-98, back in January in Portland. Like the Cavs, the Blazers are a dominant home team having only lost once at home since that game. The Blazers would love to return the favor to the Wine and Gold who are an impressive 30-1 at home.
If the Blazers are going to get it done they are going to need to have a huge game from Brandon Roy. Roy is averaging 23 points per game and can get red hot. The Blazers get 18 per game from LaMarcus Aldridge and PG Steve Blake adds nearly 10 per game. It is going to be important for the Cavs to defend the three point line because Portland has some sharp-shooters and teams that can hit the long-range shot has given the Cavaliers trouble as of late.
Portland also gets a boost from the return of Greg Oden, who played last night for the first time in a month. Oden has been suffering from a knee injury, though he was able to play 12 minutes against the Pacers scoring 4 points and grabbing 7 rebounds.
For the Cavs, with Wally Szczerbiak now out with a knee injury, Sasha Pavlovic will continue to get big minutes, with Tarence Kinsey likely to return to the rotation as well. We all know Daniel Gibson will be heard from again this season but you have to winder just how much confidence Mike Brown has in Boobie now that he has sat the bench the past two games.
Portland is a young, up and coming team that can beat anyone in the NBA. The Cavaliers are a dominant home team with an eye on the prize. You get the sense that LeBron James simply will not let this team lose right now, especially at home. Look for the Cavs to pull away in the 2nd half and to continue their winning ways.