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Game Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers at Portland Trail Blazers – January 11th, 2017

John Kuntz | cleveland.com

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UPCOMING MILESTONES:  With two more assists, LeBron James secures 15th place on the NBA all-time career list and passes Tim Hardaway. With four more blocks, Tristan Thompson accumulates the 10th most in Cavaliers’ franchise history – passing Mark West. Also, with two more blocks, Channing Frye reaches 500 in his career.

To cap off a back-to-back in the middle of their West Coast road trip, the Cavaliers leave Utah with disappointment following a 92-100 loss and head to Portland, where they will face the Trail Blazers. The Blazers are also finishing a back-to-back, as they are coming directly off of a 108-87 win against the Lakers in Los Angeles. They have won four of their last seven, but still currently sit at 17-23. This will be the second meeting between these teams this season, with the first outing resulting in a fast-paced 137-125 win at home for the Cavaliers behind Kevin Love’s franchise high 34 points in the first quarter.

On offense, have made their mark with a combination of driving to the basket and pulling up off the dribble. They score 19.5 points per game on drives – fifth most in the league – and 23.6 points per game off of pull-up shots – third most in the league. As a result, 20.3% of all their possessions involve the ball handler coming off of a pick-and-roll and taking the shot. When they get off a mid-range shot, they’ve been the most effective in the league at 45.0% as well. All together, they average the fifth most points per game at 108.2.

On the other end of the court, the Blazers have found quite a bit of trouble. They give up the second most points per 100 possessions, average the sixth least steals, and commit the third most fouls. By pushing the ball inside, the Cavaliers may be able to get to the free-throw line with ease. In addition, the Blazers are allowing the fourth highest opponent three percentage in the league.

Key players to watch for on the Blazers will be Damian Lillard (averaging 26.5 points – 7th in the NBA – and 6.3 assists per game), C.J. McCollum (averaging 23.7 points – 14th in the NBA – per game), and Mason Plumlee (averaging 11.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game).

Tipoff is set for 10:30 EST and will be broadcast on ESPN and Fox Sports Ohio.

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