PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard snapped out of a shooting slump with 27 points and the Portland Trail Blazers held LeBron James to just 11 in a 101-82 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.
Lillard was nursing an abdominal strain but had 15 points by halftime after averaging just 13.7 points on 11-for-41 shooting in the first three games. The All-Star averaged 20.7 points last season.
The Cavaliers, playing the first of a three-game Western Conference road swing, hadn’t played since a 114-108 overtime victory at Chicago on Friday. They started fast but were doomed by poor-shooting nights by James (4 of 12) and Kyrie Irving (3 of 17).
Wesley Matthews hit a 3-pointer that gave Portland a 92-74 lead with just over 4 minutes left. Matthews finished with 21 points and the Blazers (2-2) snapped a two-game losing streak.
Kevin Love, who grew up in Oregon and played at Lake Oswego High School south of Portland, had his third straight double-double for Cleveland (1-2) with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Love and LaMarcus Aldridge — who finished with 16 points — battled much of the way.
The Cavaliers made their first 10 shots and James hit consecutive 3-pointers to put Cleveland up 27-20 early. The Blazers answered with a 9-0 run to go up 29-27.
Shawn Marion’s fast-break layup gave Cleveland a 41-37 lead midway through the second quarter. The Blazers tied it at 44 on Matthews’ 3-pointer.
Lillard hit a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws and Portland led 55-50 at the break. He opened the second half with a dunk.
Portland stretched the lead to 67-54 on Aldridge’s layup and led 76-69 going into the fourth.
Robin Lopez’s hook shot extended Portland’s lead to 87-74 midway through the fourth quarter. The Blazers led by as many as 19 points in the final period.
Lillard finished with five 3-pointers on 10 attempts.
The Blazers were coming off a 95-90 loss Sunday to Golden State, doomed by late turnovers and Klay Thompson’s heroics for the Warriors. Aldridge had 26 points in the loss.
Cavaliers: Coach David Blatt, who had a long coaching career overseas before he arrived in Cleveland, recalled how Blazers coach Terry Stotts once visited him in Istanbul to watch him work. Stotts was between jobs and studying different teams and coaches. “It was mutually beneficial,” Blatt said.
Trail Blazers: F Joel Freeland was ruled out of his second straight game because of a left foot injury. … The Blazers held a moment of silence before the game for former team president Herman Sarkowski, who stepped in with a last-minute investment that helped secure Portland’s bid for the team in 1970. Sarkowski died Sunday in Seattle at age 89.
Cavaliers: Visit Utah on Wednesday.
Trail Blazers: Host Dallas on Thursday.
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