For the second game in a row, the Cleveland Cavaliers played a great game against one of the best teams in the league, but came up short. After falling to the Miami Heat by seven three days previous, the Cavs fell 119-116 to the Portland Trailblazers at home.
This loss snapped a four-game winning streak at home and kept the Trailblazers atop the NBA standings.
It was the second time in two games that the reigning Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard made a tough shot to win the game for Portland. The point guard made an off balance jumper against the Detroit Pistons and this time knocked down a 27-footer with the game tied.
The Cavaliers did have 0.4 seconds remaining on the clock, but their long attempt clanged off the rim as they dropped another close game.
Lillard and Kyrie Irving put on a point guard show in this game. Lillard made a career-high eight three pointers on his way to a season-high 36 points. He also dished out a season-best 10 assists and tied his career high with eight rebounds.
Irving scored 25 points and had 10 assists of his own, but he was unable to slow down his red hot counterpart.
Both Lillard and Irving had strong performances from their partners in crime. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points and had a game-high 15 rebounds, while Dion Waiters tied Irving with 25 points and added five assists off the bench.
Portland also got 19 points from Wesley Matthews and 14 and nine rebounds from Nicolas Batum. Meanwhile Tristan Thompson and Andrew Bynum had nice nights with 15 points and seven rebounds from Thompson and 13 and nine from Bynum.
Jarrett Jack also added 12 points, five rebounds, and four assists off the bench.
Cleveland found themselves trailing 116-108 with 1:15 left to play in the game, but scored eight straight points to tie the game up at 116 before Lillard went to work.
Irving drove to the basket down by two and met a convoy of Blazers' defenders, but was able to hand the ball of to Anderson Varejao in traffic, who finished at the rim for the tie.
It will be tough for the Cavaliers to stomach the last two losses considering how well they have played, but the schedule does get a little easier. Though all of their next four opponents are above them in the standings, none of them have more than 13 wins. If the Cavs play the way they have over this stretch, there is no reason they cannot come out with three or four wins to get things back on track.
It starts on Friday as Cleveland welcomes the Minnesota Timberwolves to town.
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