Three takeaways from the Cavaliers' 110-104 win over the Trail Blazers

The Cavaliers improved to 5-11 on the season

James Rapien
November 24, 2019 - 12:44 am
Nov 23, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) defends Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson (8) during the second half at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

© Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports


CLEVELAND, OH – The Cavaliers snapped a 6-game losing streak on Saturday night with a 110-104 win over the Trail Blazers. Here are three takeaways from their victory over Portland:

Resilient Squad

The Cavaliers were supposed to lose to the Trail Blazers. Cleveland was on the second night of a back-to-back and they arrived in town at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday morning fresh off of a 42-point loss to the Mavericks. To make matters worse, five-time All-Star Kevin Love didn’t play because of a sore back.

On the flip side, star point guard Damian Lillard returned to action for the Trail Blazers after missing the last two games with back spasms. Portland had lost three straight games entering Saturday night. It was natural to expect a team that went to the Western Conference Finals last season to come out desperate and hungry for a win.

It was quite the opposite. Both teams struggled to shoot the ball from the start. Cleveland shot 30.4 percent from the floor in the opening quarter. Portland shot 36.4 percent from the field and the teams were tied 19-19 at the end of the first quarter.

The Trail Blazers’ early struggles gave the Cavs the confidence they needed for the rest of the game. Cleveland scored at least 27 points in the final three quarters. They led by as many as 15 points and always countered anytime Lillard and the Blazers went on a run.

“I didn’t see any fatigue,” head coach John Beilein said. “The start of that second half, when everything seemed to go wrong, that could go wrong and we hung in there. They made another run late and we answered there as well. It’s a happy locker room right now.”

The Cavaliers came out with energy and they fought their tails off against a team with a lot of talent. They deserve credit for that, especially since they did it without their best player.

Value on the Rise

Jordan Clarkson scored a game-high 28 points on Saturday. He made all six of his 3-point attempts and scored 14 of his points in the fourth quarter.

The explosive sixth man can get buckets. He didn’t score in Friday’s loss to Dallas so this was a big bounce back performance from one of the Cavs’ best scorers.

This organization needs Clarkson to continue to have breakout performances like the one he had against Portland – not only because it helps them win, but it also shows the rest of the NBA the kind of impact he can have on a game.

The Cavaliers will likely trade Clarkson before February’s deadline. The more they can get for him, the better off they’ll be long term. Clarkson is in the final year of his contract. He can be a valuable scorer off the bench for a contender. The Cavaliers should and likely will trade him for future assets.

Under the Radar

Alfonzo McKinnie led the Cavaliers with a +14 plus-minus on Saturday night. He scored six points on 3-of-6 shooting and had four rebounds in 15 minutes.

McKinnie, 27, has made an impact in a limited amount of time on the court. The Cavaliers claimed him after he was released by Golden State on Oct. 19. If McKinnie continues his solid play, then he should get more time off the bench for the Cavaliers.

He could end up play a vital role on this team, especially later in the season when Clarkson and other veterans are traded.