|Lebron Heads Out West in Search of a Win Against Blazers|
|Written by TheSpread|
|Wednesday, 17 January 2007 08:00|
NBA Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers at Portland Blazers - Cavs Favored
81% of Bets Placed on Cavaliers -3 | Matchup | NBA Picks
They'll try to get back on track against another when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday in the fifth stop on their seven-game trip.
Oddsmakers have made Cleveland -3 point spread favorites
Cleveland (23-14) fell to 2-2 on the road swing and 8-11 away from home this season with a 101-96 defeat to the Seattle SuperSonics - the last place team in the Northwest Division - on Tuesday. The Cavaliers allowed 100 or more points for just the ninth time this season.
LeBron James scored 30 points, including going 13 of 15 from the free-throw line, and added eight assists and seven rebounds for the Eastern Conference-leading Cavs. However, James failed to make a field goal in the fourth quarter.
Seattle's zone defense held the Cavaliers to a season-low 16.7 percent (3 of 18) shooting from 3-point range in the loss.
"Their zone, the way they played it, as much of a time period as they played it, I think affected us at times,'' James said. "You've got to try to look to attack it sometimes, but they had three guards up and sometimes one big up so it was kind of tough to penetrate.''
The Cavaliers' star had little trouble with Portland's defense in a 100-87 victory on Nov. 15, when he recorded 32 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. James hasn't been as efficient on the road against Portland, though, averaging just 21.3 points in three career games there.
Center Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 24 points and 11 rebounds Tuesday, and has scored 20 or more points in consecutive games for the first time this season.
Cleveland has won five of the last six overall meetings between these teams, but has lost six of its last seven visits to Portland.
The Blazers (15-24) have dropped eight of their last 10 games, including a 109-93 defeat to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, and now lead the Sonics by just one-half game at the bottom of the Northwest. They led Denver by seven points at the half, but were outscored 41-17 in the third quarter and never recovered.
Portland's starting lineup combined for just 20 points in the defeat, with leading scorer Zach Randolph held to a season-low four. He is averaging a career-high 23.4 points this season, but only 13.2 in his last six home games.
"The first unit just couldn't get it going,'' Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "Not only did they have a difficult time offensively in the third quarter - but in giving up 41 points it looks like they didn't defend anyone.''
Portland's bench was a bright spot in the defeat, scoring 73 points. Sergio Rodriguez led the effort with a career-high 23 points on 11-of-14 shooting. He added 10 assists, while Juan Dixon (15 points), Martell Webster (12) and Jamaal Magloire (11) also scored in double figures.
For the season, the Blazers are receiving 38.5 percent of their scoring from reserves, the second-highest mark in the NBA behind Memphis (38.7 percent).
Portland forward Travis Outlaw (right ankle sprain) is expected to miss his seventh straight game Wednesday, while point guard Jarrett Jack is day-to-day with a concussion sustained in an auto accident on Friday.
The Cavaliers are just 3-7 this season when playing the second half of a back-to-back.
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