Despite injuries to several of their key players, the Blazers have found rhythm heading into their upcoming match, having won five of their last seven games.
In contrast, the Cavs are falling down the standings at breakneck speed with very little relief in sight as their next four games will be against Western Conference playoff contenders. They are currently on a five-game losing streak, with their most recent loss tying their worst of the season, a 38-point drubbing at the hands of the Denver Nuggets.
Fixture - Cleveland Cavaliers vs Portland Trail Blazers | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time - Friday, February 12th, 10:00 PM ET (Saturday, February 13th, 8:30 AM IST)
Venue - Moda Center, Portland, OR
Cleveland Cavaliers Preview
After their impressive back-to-back wins against the Brooklyn Nets weeks ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers have fallen on hard times. They are now 10-16 and appear to be headed for the lottery once again.
In order to arrest their recent slide, the Cavs tried a twin tower combo of Jarrett Allen and Andre Drummond to start the last two games. However, that hasn’t worked, and it’s unclear if coach J.B. Bickerstaff will try that combination once again against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Without Larry Nance Jr. to space the floor as a power forward, Bickerstaff may have no decent options available except to try that experiment one last time.
If the Cleveland Cavaliers get burned during the first few minutes of the first quarter, however, don’t be surprised to see either Allen or Drummond yanked early.
Key Player - Andre Drummond
Andre Drummond played at an All-Star pace for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first month of the season. At the time, he was averaging 19.3 points, 15.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.6 blocks in 32.2 minutes of playing time per game.
However, as soon as Jarrett Allen arrived, Drummond’s numbers dipped quite a bit, with 16.5 points, 11.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.6 steals and less than a block a game (0.8) in 26.5 minutes an outing.
Drummond could eventually be on his way out to make room for Allen, but he can’t display a lack of aggression like he did in the Nuggets game (4 points/6 rebounds).
If the Cleveland Cavaliers are to break out of their slump beginning with the Portland Trail Blazers game, Drummond has to be the force that he once was.
Cleveland Cavaliers Predicted Lineup
G Darius Garland G Collin Sexton F Isaac Okoro F Andre Drummond C Jarrett Allen
Portland Trail Blazers Preview
Without C.J. McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins, the Portland Trail Blazers have managed to stay in the playoff picture with two quality wins against the East-leading Philadelphia 76ers during the past week, aside from a handful of other victories.
Veteran Carmelo Anthony turned in a monster performance in the fourth quarter of the Sixers game on Thursday to give the Blazers a 118-114 win. He had a 17-point explosion in the final period to turn the game around, while All-Star guard Damian Lillard scored 30 points to lead the Portland Trail Blazers in scoring once again.
They will play on back-to-back nights when they face the Cleveland Cavaliers, but their confidence is soaring and they will be ready come tipoff time.
Key Player - Gary Trent Jr.
Gary Trent Jr. has been quite a revelation for the Portland Trail Blazers since C.J. McCollum went down with an injury. In the last five games, Trent put up 20.6 points an outing and shot 48.9 percent from 3-point territory. His shooting is vital for this Portland Trail Blazers team to overcome their recent obstacles.
Against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Trent will have to guard Darius Garland and make him work hard on the defensive end. At the same time, he will have to keep Garland from orchestrating the Cavs’ offense.
Portland Trail Blazers Predicted Lineup
G Damian Lillard G Gary Trent Jr. F Derrick Jones Jr. F Robert Covington C Enes Kanter
Cavaliers vs Blazers Match Prediction
The Portland Trail Blazers are a smart team with plenty of veterans who can pick up the slack from their injured comrades.
When the Cleveland Cavaliers come to town, they will be determined to put up a better fight against the Blazers than they showed against the Nuggets the other night. They are dangerous and too well-coached to be taken for granted.
The Cleveland Cavaliers will be competitive in this game, so the Portland Trail Blazers will have a fight on their hands. However, Portland will win this matchup and hand the Cavaliers their sixth straight loss.