NBA: Flat Cavs routed by struggling Blazers

Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots while under pressure from Maurice Harkless #4 of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots while under pressure from Maurice Harkless #4 of the Portland Trail Blazers. PHOTO: AFP

Cleveland stars James and Love rendered powerless as Portland snap five-game skid

PORTLAND • The Portland Trail Blazers were coming off a 0-5 road trip and were without All-Star point guard Damian Lillard. The Cleveland Cavaliers are everyone's pick to win the National Basketball Association's Eastern Conference this season.

"Anybody see that coming?" asked coach Terry Stotts after the Trail Blazers' dramatic 105-76 rout of the Cavaliers on Saturday at the Moda Centre.

"That's one of the things I love about the NBA. Anything can happen."

Guard Allen Crabbe scored 21 of his career-high 26 points in the first half as Portland (12-20) snapped a five-game losing streak.

Guard C.J. McCollum had 16 points and six assists, forward Meyers Leonard added 13 points, five rebounds and four assists, while centre Mason Plumlee collected 11 points, 14 rebounds and four assists for the Blazers.

Forward Kevin Love scored 13 points and forward LeBron James contributed 12 points, five assists and four rebounds for Cleveland (19-9) before departing late in the third quarter with the issue already decided.

"Throw it in the trash," James said of the Cavaliers' second loss in two days. "Nothing good we did tonight, besides the third team."

The Cavaliers shot .364 from the field a night after firing at a season-low .316 clip in an 83-89 loss at Golden State.

"We were lacking in energy, lacking in approach and flat as all get-up," Cleveland coach David Blatt said.

Portland shot .461 from the field and .409 from three-point range and won the points-in-the-paint battle 44-24.

The Blazers led through all but the game's first minute. The difference was 29 points at half-time, and the Blazers were in front by 34 points late in the game.

Crabbe made seven of 12 shots from the field, including four of six from three-point range, to stake Portland to a 63-34 half-time lead.

"I didn't shoot the ball well on the road trip," said Crabbe, who had eclipsed his previous career high of 19 points by half-time.

"I was struggling a lot. I just told myself, 'I'm due for one, man.' I had two days off, got to relax, got my legs back. It was a good night."

The Cavaliers were playing the second of back-to-back games and without point guard Kyrie Irving, who sat out the game to rest a knee that was surgically repaired in the off season.

"There's something to be said for that, but we still have to come out and play a basketball game," Love said.

"There was no reason for it be like it was tonight."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2015, with the headline 'Flat Cavs routed by struggling Blazers'. Print Edition | Subscribe