The Cavaliers overcame a disastrous start to make it competitive with the Blazers, but ultimately Portland went bonkers from distance and pulled away late for a 123-110 win.
Here’s two positives and one negative from the action.
POSITIVE: Our large, adult son.
Cedi Osman’s jumper has come around as of late and it’s produced several gaudy shooting nights in the last couple months, but this was as strong of an all-around performance as you’ll see out of the Cavaliers second-year wing.
Osman scored 27 points on 10-16 shooting while grabbing seven boards and three assists. He consistently looked to attack Blazers defenders off the bounce and was able to finish at the rim at a high level, all while hitting 3-5 from distance.
Late-season runs from young players can often be misleading, but it genuinely looks like Cedi is beginning to figure some things out, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
NEGATIVE: Perimeter defense
It’s hardly a surprise, given who the Cavaliers were playing, that they were lit up on Monday night. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum combined for a gaudy 56 points as they did functionally whatever they wanted off the bounce against the Cavaliers. Collin Sexton is still no match for top scoring guards, and it shows on nights like this.
The rest of the team did no better. The Blazers went a frankly astounding 18-29 from distance, and it’s nearly impossible to win when your opponent is shooting 62 percent from three-point range. The Cavs did well to stay in the game, but they couldn’t hang on against that sort of onslaught.
POSITIVE: The try-hard Cavaliers are back?
A humiliating midseason stretch featuring way too many Jalen Jones minutes led to the Cavaliers failing to be competitive most nights early on, spoiling what had been a mildly entertaining early season featuring close games that just slipped away from Cleveland.
Well, with the team getting healthy, they’re looking closer to their original form. This game had every making of an easy Blazers blowout, and yet the Cavaliers fought their way within five into the middle of the fourth quarter. Yes, a quick 9-0 run from Portland put a stop to any Cavaliers hopes, but that’s what happens when you’re at a talent deficit.
The Cavaliers made this game watchable, and really, that’s all we can ask for most nights.