December 21, 2014

Elyria
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Cavs can’t close out game in Portland

Portland Trails Blazers guard Wesley Matthews, left, steals the ball from Cleveland Cavaliers forward Luol Deng Wednesday. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Portland Trails Blazers guard Wesley Matthews, left, steals the ball from Cleveland Cavaliers forward Luol Deng Wednesday. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

PORTLAND, Ore. — LaMarcus Aldridge had 32 points and 18 rebounds, scoring nine straight points that pulled Portland in front in the final four minutes, and the Trail Blazers beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-96 on Wednesday night.

Damian Lillard added 28 points for the Blazers, who won their third straight.

Luol Deng had 25 points for the Cavaliers, who were playing the second of a back-to-back after a victory over the Lakers on Tuesday night. Kyrie Irving added 21 points.

Dion Waiters’ 3-pointer gave the Cavs a 94-93 lead with 3:44 to go. Aldridge made his first 3-pointer of the season to give Portland back the lead, but Anderson Varejao’s basket tied it at 96.

Aldridge answered with pair of free throws, a 19-foot jumper and a layup that made it 102-96.

The Blazers added consecutive 3-pointers from Wesley Matthews and Lillard for the final margin.

Deng, acquired in a trade with the Chicago Bulls last week in exchange for Andrew Bynum and draft picks, appears to be fitting in nicely with the Cavaliers. He had 27 points, matching his season high, in Cleveland’s 120-118 victory in Los Angeles on Tuesday. It was the Cavaliers’ fourth win on the road this season.

Irving went into the game averaging 21.4 points, identical to Lillard, last season’s NBA Rookie of the Year.

When the Blazers visited Cleveland on Dec. 17, Lillard sank a long 3-pointer at the buzzer and the Blazers came away with a 119-116 victory. Lillard finished with 36 points, Irving had 25.

It looked at first like this game might come down to which of the talented point guards would have a better night. In the end, however, Aldridge made the difference — prompting fans to once again shower him with “M-V-P!” chants. The Blazers are 19-3 when he has a double-double.

Waiters hit consecutive baskets and Tyler Zeller added a layup to give the Cavs a 38-30 lead in the second quarter.

Portland tied it at 46 on Lillard’s consecutive 3-pointers. The Blazers pulled in front 49-48 on another three from Lillard and Portland led 54-50 at the break.

Irving’s long jumper gave the Cavaliers a 65-63 lead in the third quarter while the Blazers struggled to find the basket. Deng’s fast-break layup pushed Cleveland’s lead to 73-69.

But Aldridge hit a turnaround jumper at the buzzer that gave the Blazers a 77-75 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Portland clung to the lead until Waiters’ pull-up jumper tied it at 88 with 6:18 left.