The Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers are expected to meet at the Moda Center on Friday night to get the weekend started. This isn’t the biggest matchup of the night. That game you can find in Utah between the Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz, but the Cavaliers and Trail Blazers present a bettable situation in Portland tonight. Yes, you should probably keep your eye on the Bucks and Jazz in Salt Lake City, though.
That is going to be one epic game, and a huge measuring stick for the Jazz. People are questioning how good the Jazz are. Well, we are going to get some answers tonight, albeit one game isn’t enough of a sample size to decent anything, but it is a good look into how the Jazz play against an elite opponent like the Bucks.
The Trail Blazers have been doing pretty well despite losing Jusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum to injury. Nurkic is scheduled to be back in early March, while McCollum late February at the earliest. I think what it is for the Trail Blazers is that they’ve learned to adjust and play without Nurkic and McCollum. At first I think the Blazers needed some time to gel with the new lineup. As long as Damian Lillard can stay healthy, they’re going to be in fine shape regardless.
I say fine shape, but not great shape, because this Blazers team isn’t competing with the top teams in the NBA at less than 100%. The presence of Nurkic and McCollum will certainly be necessary if the Blazers want to go deep in the playoffs. Portland goes into Friday night with wins in four of their last five games. They are coming off an incredibly impressive 118-114 win over the Philadelphia 76ers last night.
After a big win the fear is that the Blazers will suffer a letdown spot versus the Cavaliers tonight. The Cavaliers are 12th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 10-16. They had something good going on earlier this season, but have since hit a wall and regressed. The Cavaliers enter Friday night on a five-game losing streak.
Their most recent win was on February 1 against another struggling team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, 100-98. It’s the Cavaliers only win in their last eight attempts. They have an opportunity over a team that might overlook them tonight. Head below for our free Cavaliers vs. Trail Blazers pick on February 12, 2021.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Portland Trail Blazers NBA Betting Odds:
Cavaliers vs. Trail Blazers Prediction:
The Cavaliers were embarrassed in Denver against the Nuggets on Wednesday. They were no shows, as the Nuggets did whatever they wanted to do against a Cavaliers squad that was non-responsive. The Nuggets emerged with a 133-95 win over the Cavaliers to give them their fifth straight loss. To open their road trip, the Phoenix Suns beat the Cavaliers by a score of 119-113 on Monday.
The strong defense that we saw from the Cavaliers earlier in the season has been invisible recently. They were relying on their defense to win games, but where has it been recently? Overall, the Cavaliers have conceded an average of 111.2 points per game for 12th in the league. That sounds nice and all, especially for a Cavaliers team still in a rebuilding phase, but they’ve been collapsing lately and going in the wrong direction.
I think the Cavaliers were just playing above their means then. In their last five outings, the Cavaliers have allowed 124 points against per game. Now, I don’t believe they’re that bad, but certainly not as good as the team that was holding teams to under 110 points. The Trail Blazers have been hanging in there offensively with Lillard exclusively running the show without Nurkic and McCollum. He’s averaging 29.4 points and shooting 44.6% from the field.
The Blazers are sixth in the NBA with 114.7 points per game, and holding up well despite an injured roster. In their last five outings, they’ve scored an average of just over 115 points per game. Conversely, the Cavaliers have netted 102.2 points per game through their last five appearances, for a score differential of -22 points.
The Blazers aren’t thin defensively, but I’m not confident in the Cavs taking advantage of their deficiencies. Cleveland is 29th in the NBA with 103.6 points per game. A letdown spot for Portland is the biggest concern in this game. And while I think it might take a quarter for the Blazers to get going, they should be able to take full control in the second-half. It might be closer than some people predict, but a seven or eight-point win for Portland looks sharp.