CLEVELAND — Donovan Mitchell scored 34 points and Jarrett Allen had a season-high 24 points and 13 rebounds, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 114-96 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
Darius Garland had 24 points and 12 assists, and Evan Mobley had 10 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks as the Cavaliers completed a 4-0 homestand. Cleveland has the third best record in the NBA at 12-6.
“The defense has a difficult decision to make about how they’re going to protect us,” said Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff. “Often they side with Donovan’s defender, but he’s a willing passer. And this is where Jarrett is doing a great job of finding those gaps.”
Jusuf Nurkic had 22 points and six rebounds, and Jerami Grant had 21 points for the Trail Blazers, who have lost four straight games. Anfernee Simons scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and had six assists.
Portland guard Damian Lillard missed his second straight game with a right lower leg strain. The six-time All-Star will be rated at the end of the month after suffering his second calf injury of the season and sidelined him for six games so far.
“I think the guys are in good spirits, especially with the difficult situation we’re in right now,” said Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups. “We’re scrapping and we’re positive and we’re staying tuned.”
Cleveland built their biggest lead at 97-77 on a driving layup by Dean Wade early in the fourth. The Cavaliers, who are 8-1 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, maintained at least a two-ball possession advantage in the second half.
“We came with the energy to compete and this crowd, man, they’re here and cheering us on every night,” said Allen, who came off the field in 10th of 12. “I’m grateful for all my teammates and our fans.”
Grant and Mitchell both had five 3-pointers in the first half as Cleveland carried a 57-48 advantage into the break. Grant had 21 points in the opening 23 minutes but was kept scoreless in the second half.
The Cavaliers finally took the lead in the second quarter on a 21-3 run, powered by eight points each from Garland and Allen to forge a 40-24 lead.
Cavaliers F. Kevin Love was out with a broken right thumb, preventing him from playing in the same arena on the sixth anniversary of his NBA record, 34 points in the first quarter against Portland.
Love, who missed just one game after suffering an injury against Charlotte on November 18, was clearly uneasy playing 12 goalless minutes against Atlanta on Sunday.
“Kevin’s thumb is uncomfortable, I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” Bickerstaff said. “The other day he was playing with pain. For a while it will just be about managing pain.”
Trail Blazers: Billups was pleased that three-time Utah All-Star Mitchell was traded from the west. “I was happy for him because Cleveland is a good fit,” Billups said, breaking into a smile. “But I also said, ‘Bye, see you later.'” …G. Keon Johnson (left hip pointer) and G. Gary Payton II (core muscle conditioning) were inactive. G Greg Brown III is on a mission for the G League.
Cavaliers: Cleveland has held just 20 points clear in four of its 18 games, two of them at home. … G Caris LeVert (left ankle sprain) missed his second straight game, but Wade (right knee pain) returned after six games … G Dylan Windler (right ankle sprain) and G Ricky Rubio (left knee surgery) . not played this season. F Mamadi Diakite plays in the G League.
Trail Blazers: Visit New York on Friday night.
Cavaliers: Visit Milwaukee on Friday night.