Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/6/14
A winnable game Tough game Tuesday night vs. Denver. Here’s the Boxscore & Recap. The Portland Trail Blazers are fighting for a playoff spot in a tough Western Conference, and when winnable games present themselves, Rip City has to take full advantage. Matchup: Portland (20-18) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (9-31) Venue: Rose Garden Arena Time: 7:00 PM PT Date: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 The Blazers are hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night, and if all goes according to plan, Portland should be the ones capturing the ‘W.’ The Trail Blazers have to open the game strong against the Cavaliers. (Photo: Bruce Ely/The Oregonian) Game Notes/How They Match Up The Blazers and the Cavs are two teams who have gone through recent monumental changes. Both rosters have a drastically different feel than they did a few years back, but it’s the Blazers who have a legitimate chance at the postseason. Cleveland was a borderline playoff team last year, and a lot of people expected them to come back strong. They’ve been a major disappointment, though, as they bring the second-worst record in the NBA with them into their matchup with Portland. The Trail Blazers, on the other hand, have exceeded the expectations that most put on them. If you thought this team would be where it is today, you were in the minority. These two teams have big questions surrounding their futures, but it’s clear at this point that the Blazers are a step ahead of Cleveland in the rebuilding process. What to Watch: Portland The last time these two teams met, the Trail Blazers escaped with one of the more exhilarating victories of the 2012-13 season. The game went to double-overtime, Nicolas Batum nailed the game-winning three-pointer and the team broke its losing streak in the middle of an ugly road trip. This time around, however, the Blazers are a whole new ball club, and they need to show the Cavs what they’re capable of right from the get-go. The Blazers were outscored in the first quarter, as they were giving up easy looks and failing to complete their own. It wasn’t exactly a comeback victory, as the Cavs let Portland back in it in the second period, but the team from Portland didn’t make it easy on themselves with the sluggish start. If Portland wants to show that they’re a different class than the Cavs, they’ll have to come out of the gate with an energy and an efficiency that proves it. What to Watch: Cleveland For the Cavaliers, the question night in and night out is, who is going to help Kyrie Irving? Cleveland’s floor general is averaging a team-high 23 points per game, and the only other players posting more than 12 points a contest are Anderson Varejao and Dion Waiters. With Varejao injured and Waiters plagued by inconsistency, it’s tough to know just where the secondary scoring is going to come from. Damian Lillard will have to have a big game to outplay Kyrie Irving. (Photo: Ton Dejak/AP) If Portland is lucky—or better yet, if they lock down on defense—Irving will be forced to win this game on his own. Key Matchup The Cavaliers have been one of the worst teams in the NBA this season, which is a surprise when you think about their superstar point guard, Kyrie Irving. Irving is the kind of player who can both score and set up his teammates. He is more of a shooter than a distributor at this point in his career, but he is dangerous in both half-court and fast-break situations when it comes to finding open shooters. Does this remind you of anyone? Damian Lillard has a lot of similar qualities when it comes to Irving. He is a threat to take over a game on any given night, and he’s proven he can be a No. 1 option when the game plan calls for it. When these two face off at the Rose Garden, it will be the focus of the night. But if all goes according to plan, the national media will have their eyes on these youngsters for years to come. Injury Report Portland: OUT—Meyers Leonard Cleveland: OUT—Anderson Varejao, DAY-TO-DAY—Daniel Gibson Prediction This is one of the more winnable games the Blazers have had recently, and they’ll take care of business if they truly have their eyes on the 2013 playoffs. Blazers 100 – Cavaliers 91  CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Don Shula named in painkiller lawsuit from former NFL players

Kyrie Irving questionable for Game 2 versus Atlanta

Michael Sam signs with CFL’s Montreal Alouettes

Ex-A&M quarterback Kenny Hill transferring to TCU

Michael Bennett compares Pete Carroll to Willy Wonka

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jim Kelly: There is no doubt Tom Brady cheated

Warriors hang on, edge Rockets in Game 2 thriller

Farrell 'not ruling anything out' as Red Sox's struggles persist

Gretzky: Connor McDavid could be the next Gretzky

Bucs' Clint McDonald: Jameis Winston already leading team

Dana White: Rousey vs. Cyborg would break UFC PPV record

Is virtual reality training the next leap forward for football?

Warriors a very shaky 2-0 against the Rockets

NFL icon Bud Grant zings Pats with Deflategate joke on Twitter

RG3 announces birth daughter's birth on social media

Don't listen to Nick Saban, the bowl system is just fine

MLB scores partial victory in minor league wage lawsuits

Ranking the NBA Playoffs' most significant injuries

WATCH: Will Smith ejected for foreign substance on arm

Guy behind NFL's social media trolling of Pats is a Jets fan?

In defense of 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie

Madison Bumgarner homered off of Clayton Kershaw

Would both Towns, Okafor prefer not being the No. 1 pick?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jim Kelly: No doubt Tom Brady cheated

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

Ex-players sue NFL for conspiring to push painkillers

Astros surprising, but can get better with Correa

Here come the Giants

Aaron Hernandez got new tattoo in prison

TUF weekly recap by NOS® Energy Drink

Ten players who could benefit due to PAT rule change

Five QBs set for breakout campaigns

Report: Lakers will pursue Thibodeau

MLS leaders struggling with attendance

LBS: I was a contestant on Sports Jeopardy!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.