PORTLAND, Ore. — The Cleveland Cavaliers are back in the win column after taking down the Portland Trail Blazers Friday night on the road, 114-101. But while the starters fought their way to Cleveland's first win in the City of Roses since 2013, it was Cedi Osman's push that might have made all the difference.
Osman, coming off the bench, hadn't played since Dec. 22 after being placed in the NBA's health and safety protocols. Missing six games didn't seem to slow Osman down in his return Friday night, however, shooting 5-for-9 with 14 points, three rebounds and a steal.
But it wasn't just the points he scored, it was how he scored them that gave the Cavs the much-needed boost. Osman hit four crucial threes in the fourth quarter to hold off Portland, who were inching back in the game as the Cavs struggled offensively.
"It felt great. I really missed being on the court with the guys and it was a great game for us tonight," Osman said after the game. "I've been feeling great about my threes since the beginning of the season. I'm trusting my shots, and even if I wasn't really pushing in the first half, I knew the game was going to come to me and I'm going to be able to knock those shot down."
While Osman's return was a welcome sight, the starters held their own as well, with Darius Garland leading the way in scoring with 26 points, in addition to his six assists and a steal.
Rookie Evan Mobley continued his dominance on both sides of the court, scoring 18 points while notching eight rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal. Lauri Markkanen put up 15 points and five assists while Jarrett Allen had 13 points and 13 rebounds in addition to two steals.
Friday night also marked the debut of new Cavalier Rajon Rondo, who was acquired from the Los Angles Lakers on Monday in a three-team trade that sent Denzel Valentine to the New York Knicks and saw both the Lakers and Knicks get draft rights to several players.
Rondo put up 11 points coming off the bench, in addition to five rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block.
For the Trail Blazers, with Damian Lillard sidelined with an abdominal injury, Norman Powell led the way in scoring with 19 points, while Robert Covington had 17 points and eight rebounds, Anfernee Simmons had 14 points and seven assists and Jusuf Nurkić had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The win marked the Cavs' 22nd this season, matching their win total from last season, and breaking a losing streak at Moda Center that began in 2013.
"It's just another win," head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "No, the thing that we talk about in growth and those types of things is just taking care of business and taking care of the job that's in front of you every night. We try not to get caught up in the past. We feel like this is a different bunch and a different group so all we're focused on is the job at hand every single night and I thought our guys did a great job of responding to that tonight."
With the Cavs back in the win column, they'll look to get a streak going as they continue on their road trip, taking on the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center Sunday night. Tip off is at 8:30 p.m.
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