Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/2/12
CLEVELAND -- Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum had a close miss at the end of the first overtime period. He wasn't about to be denied given a second chance. Batum's 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds remaining propelled Portland to a 118-117 win over Cleveland in double overtime Saturday before 16,624 at Quicken Loans Arena. Batum's 12-footer at the end of overtime was overruled by a video replay. He came back with a vengeance in the second OT. "I almost won it with that first one," he said. "I had to make sure the second would count." He fired in 22 points, including three of four from behind the 3-point arc, and seven rebounds for the Trail Blazers (7-10), who snapped a four-game losing streak. "It was great to get a win," Batum said. "It was a great game to watch. Both teams played great basketball." Slick rookie guard Damian Lillard led all scorers with 24 points, 11 assists and six rebounds. The teams were tied at 103 after the first overtime. It looked like rookie center Tyler Zeller was going to be the hero after several key plays in the second OT for the Cavs (4-13). His 18-footer with 52.3 seconds left handed the Cavs a 116-115 lead. On Portland's next possession, his hard show on Lillard forced a turnover with 30 seconds left when the rookie guard lost the handle out of bounds. Zeller passed up a 20-footer the next time the Cavs touched the ball, and then traveled. The 7-footer blocked a shot by J.J. Hickson on the defensive end. Cavs forward Alonzo Gee split two free throws with 2.5 seconds left, leaving the score 117-115. Batum then hit his clutch 24-foot, 3-pointer in front of the Cavs bench for the game-winner. "We had a couple inexcusable mistakes defensively at the end of the game that we just can't give up," Zeller said. "We just have to fix those mistakes and be better at the end of games." Cavs coach Byron Scott said he liked the minutes Zeller gave them on Saturday. Zeller ended with 14 points and a season-high 10 rebounds. "He played extremely well," Scott said. "He seems like he's getting his feet back under him." Blazers center LaMarcus Aldridge had 21 points and nine rebounds. Portland outscored the Cavs, 15-14, in the second overtime and is now 3-0 in extra periods this season. For the Cavs, center Anderson Varejao recorded his eighth consecutive double-double with 19 points, 17 rebounds and five assists. His double-double streak is three shy of Elmore Smith's team record in 1978. Gee had 22 points for the Cavs, while rookie guard Dion Waiters added 12 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Waiters sprained his left ankle with 1:49 remaining in the second overtime after Varejao accidently fell on him. He had an X-ray after the game, which was negative. The Cavs said he'd be re-evaluated on Sunday. He was limping noticeably after the game. "Ending a losing streak is always important," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "It was much needed." The teams were tied at 91 at the end of regulation. The Cavs took a 91-89 lead on Tristan Thompson's slam dunk in traffic with 53.7 seconds remaining. Waiters' penetration set up the second-year power forward. Aldridge grabbed a key offensive rebound over Varejao on Portland's next possession. His shot attempt was swatted into the stands by Thompson on a controversial goaltending call. He was fouled by Varejao, but Aldridge missed the free throw with 36.8 seconds remaining, leaving the score tied at 91. A crucial 24-second violation by the Cavs gave the ball back to Portland. Lillard missed on his drive to the basket as time expired. The Cavs had eight players in double figures, including all five starters. Point guard Jeremy Pargo added 13 points and eight assists. "It was a tough one," Scott said. "I thought our guys played hard. I didn't think we played very smart." NOTES: J.J. Hickson was the Cavs' first-round pick in 2008. He spent three seasons in Cleveland before being traded to Sacramento. "I get chills walking into this building," he said. "This is where it all started for me." Cavs coach Byron Scott is impressed with Hickson's maturity. "He's doing some of the things he's capable of doing -- rebounding, running the floor," he said. "He's not putting a whole lot of stock in scoring and being the offensive juggernaut he thought he was. He's playing within himself and he's doing a very good job." ... Hickson said he was excited about facing his old Cavs teammate, Anderson Varejao. "With a guy like that, you have to match his intensity and be ready for the challenge," Hickson said. ... Varejao's 204 rebounds in November were the second most ever by a Cavs player in any month. Rick Roberson had 205 in December 1971. ... Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts knows he has a special player in Lillard. "He's been the Rookie of the Month in my mind," Stotts said. Scott likes what he's seen of Lillard. "He's a true point guard," he said. "He tries to get his teammates involved. I think his talent is undeniable." ... The Cavs want guard Daniel Gibson to wear an elastic band on his sore right elbow. He says it affects his shooting and he's discarded it.
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