There was some expected lag and letdown for the Cleveland Cavaliers coming off their Christmas Day loss to the Warriors. Friday's game was grueling, tightly contested and the Cavs went straight into a game against the Trail Blazers.
The Cavs, though, played worse than anyone could have expected and lost to Portland by a final score of 105-76. In the loss, the Cavs scored their lowest single game point total of the season for the second game in a row and also shot under 40 percent from the field for the third straight game.
The Cavs were never really in this game. Led by CJ McCollum, who started at point guard in place of an injured Damian Lillard, the Trail Blazers got out to double-digit lead early in the first. At the end of one, the Cavs were down 34-12 and Portland settled into a groove. For the rest of the game, the Blazers stayed in complete control and every time the Cavs looked alive for even a possession, Portland responded and killed anything that looked promising the for the Cavs.
With the game out of hand, LeBron James exited the game for good late in the third quarter. He finished with 12 points on 4-13 shooting in 26 minutes. Kevin Love led the Cavs with 13 points in 20 minutes.. Allen Crabbe - originally a Cavs draft pick - led all scorers with 26 points and McCollum added 16.
In the long run, the game doesn't matter all that much. This isn't a sign that the Cavs are doomed or that they aren't as good in reality as they are on paper. But it's a frustrating loss nonetheless because Cleveland is a lot better than this performance shows.
The Cavs have tomorrow off and next play on Monday in Phoenix against the Suns.