A total bummer. Letting this one slip away really hurts, especially considering that both Utah and Denver won tonight. Nuts.
Blazers first loss in seven games decided by three or fewer points this season . . . Cleveland now won six of last eight meetings with Portland . . . LeBron James’ 37 points matches the most points in regulation for the Cavs in the all-time Portland-Cleveland series (World B. Free had 37 on 11/10/83 – Bobby Phills scored 43 against the Blazers in a 2 OT game on 12/30/95) . . . The 37 points matches the third highest against Portland this season . . . Portland’s 35.3% shooting (30-85) a season low . . . Cleveland’s 39 defensive rebounds season high vs. Blazers . . . Portland’s 15 fourth quarter points matches its season low for the quarter.
“We played the game not to lose in the last few minutes while they played more aggressively to win. Our job was to keep the pressure on and we didn’t do it. In recent games down the stretch we’ve come down and got some stops. But tonight even though we did a pretty good job early in defending LeBron, he made the clutch threes and the winning drive to the basket just like great players do.
“On that winning play our first job was to keep LeBron in front of Brandon. But when he drove by, the second big mistake was we should have come over and given help and made it difficult for him to drive to the basket. That didn’t happen. Earlier they were running pick-and-rolls and often when we contained LeBron we were still able to get the ball back to him. Once we contained him the first time, we should have made sure he didn’t get the ball back.
“This one hurts because we had control over it for much of the game. But towards the end we just got outworked. They went on an 11-0 run. You’ve got to score. You’ve got to push the ball down the floor and get good shots. I thought LeBron did a nice job on Brandon. He stepped up when he had to. What I told the players tonight after the game is, ‘we gave up one.’ Tonight we had an opportunity to put the game away but we didn’t make baskets down the stretch.”
“We messed up with some little things defensively. For the most part I thought we played well. We took them down to the wire. He (James) made a great play to win the ball game. Its not surprising (that LeBron made the big play). He’s the only one for them in double figures. It was only a matter of time he was going to start making open shots down the stretch. The loss is tough. Especially at home we really wanted to take care of our own court.”
“He (LeBron) made some big shots. The ultimate of the game was when he showed his aggressiveness in going to the hoop and knocking down the reverse layup. It shows how patient and how poised he is in a real tight situation. People probably forgot he was on the Eastern Conference champions and was in the Finals last year. He knows what its like to be in a situation like that. He really showed why he is who he is and what he he does is what he does.”
“Obviously Lebron was terrific. He put us on his back tonight. We couldn’t make a basket to save our lives tonight. But he put us on his back. He did what superstars do and he did was he’s capable of doing. That was fun to watch and that was fun to be a part of. The thing that impressed me that even though we couldn’t buy a basket, we tried defensively.
Portland is a great team, they’re well coached. They have a lot of nice young pieces. I thought defensively we tried to bring it the entire game. Even down the stretch I felt we tried to bring it. Lebron did a terrific job on Brandon Roy down the stretch. There were some things that helped us pull this out. The first one was how we closed the third quarter. The way we closed the quarter was extremely important. We took a 15 or 16 point game and made it six or seven. It gave us hope and opportunity. We 9 turnovers at halftime and we only had three in the second half.
This is a terrific three point shooting team and we continued to contest the entire night. We made their shots as difficult as possible. The last thing is we had contributions from everybody throughout the ball game.”
“They kept going behind the pick and roll. I was able to hit a three. I just wanted to be aggressive. We just go out and play hard. We haven’t have success on the road like this in a long time. We understand how to handle it. The coaching staff does a great of preparing us to go out every night. We have the number one (comebacks in the league) in the fourth quarter for a reason. We know the game is not over until there are zeros on the clock.”
“Przybilla is a good shot blocker. He came over and got me a couple of times. That’s not going to stop me from being aggressive and doing what I do best. They are very, very good. They execute very well on the offensive end. They do a great job on the defensive end. They know how to play the right way and have a bright future as a franchise.”
“I just wanted to take every possession like it was our last and be aggressive. My teammates did a good job at feeding off of me. I don’t know when the turning point happened but we were able to ride the wave and get a win.”
LeBron on Brandon Roy
“He’s a good player. He’s only going to get better. They’ve got a great franchise player here in Brandon Roy. I just do what I do. I prepare myself to be the best player on the floor every night no matter what building I’m in.”