Cavs Nation’s Matt Thomas

Two down, eighty to go. While Cleveland is still buzzing about LeBron taking down Chicago and redeeming himself for the home opener loss, the Cavs will start their opening road trip with a battle of backcourts in Portland tonight 10 pm ET. The Trail Blazers come in at 1-2, but despite losing to Sacramento and Golden State, they will be another early test for Cleveland.

Trail Blazer’s All-Star Power Forward, LaMarcus Aldridge, has averaged 25.0 points a game through the first three games of the season. Additionally, fellow All-Star Damian Lillard has averaged 13.7 points. The matchups to look forward to are (not surprisingly) Irving against Lillard, and Love against Alrdridge. All four of whom, were All-Stars last year. Under the radar but also vital Is the Shooting Guard matchup between Wesley Matthews and Dion Waiters. Both players will need to defensively cement the wings in addition to knocking down shots:

Now, while LeBron is coming off a 36-point explosion in Chicago on Halloween night, this is a game where Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving are expected to shine. They both have the biggest matchups of the night, and even though LeBron (as usual) is expected to be, well LeBron, Irving and Love are due for big nights.

This early season challenge is a chance for Cleveland to grab another convincing victory on the road. While Chicago has been proclaimed as Cleveland’s biggest threat, the Western Conference has their share of threats to Cleveland, including this young and talented Portland Trail Blazers team.

With Utah and Denver right around the corner, this Portland game will raise a lot of questions about the Cavs throughout the rest of their opening road tour of the year. Hopefully, the Cavs have answers tonight. Expect Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving to blow up, coupled with a well-rounded performance from LeBron. Bottom line, this is going to be a star-studded battle of backcourts and the post; but in the end, if they play similar to their performance in Chicago, Cleveland should leave Portland with a victory.

Prediction: Cleveland: 101 Portland: 95

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