PORTLAND, Ore. — The Cleveland Cavaliers and coach Byron Scott sequestered themselves in the locker room for nearly a half hour after falling 111-70 to the Portland Trail Blazers.
When Scott finally emerged, his words were harsh.
“Our team is just so soft mentally its unbelievable,” he said.
The coach’s comments came after an exercise in futility that was more of a Cavaliers’ loss than a Portland victory.
“I’m at a loss for words right now. Kind of numb, just numb,” said Cleveland’s Baron Davis, who was playing his first game since his grandmother’s death. “It’s tough. For the first time in my life I can’t draw from anything. I can’t find anything.”
LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points and 11 rebounds, heading to the sideline just before the Blazers built a 44-point lead late in the third quarter. He called the game Portland’s “most comfortable” of the season.
Gerald Wallace added 17 points for the Blazers, who had 29 assists compared to Cleveland’s six and easily surpassed their largest margin of victory this season.
Blazers coach Nate McMillan had warned his team before the game not to fall into a trap of thinking that the Cavaliers were an easy win. The Blazers, jockeying for playoff position in the Western Conference, responded by jumping out to a 24-2 lead and cruising the rest of the way.
“Our main thing was not to disrespect Cleveland, but just to focus on what we needed to do,” Wallace said.
Cleveland, with the league’s worst record at 13-54, made just 21 shots from the floor in shooting 35.6 percent. Ramon Sessions led the Cavs with 14 points.
As bad as it was for the Cavaliers, it still wasn’t their worst loss of the season. Cleveland fell 112-57 at the Los Angeles Lakers in January in the worst loss in the NBA since Feb. 27, 1998, when the Indiana Pacers beat the Trail Blazers 124-59.
Before Thursday’s game, Portland’s biggest winning margin this season was a 106-80 victory over Milwaukee on Dec. 20.
The Blazers took a 37-12 lead in the first quarter, when the Cavaliers shot just 14.3 percent from the floor. Portland’s 37 points matched a first-quarter season high, while Cleveland’s 12 points equaled its season low.
Portland extended the lead to 54-19 in the second quarter after Aldridge’s dunk and Rudy Fernandez’s fast-break layup. It was up to 64-34 at the half, and Aldridge departed for good with 3:32 to go in the third.
Marcus Camby made a layup that put Portland ahead 87-43.
Davis had three points in his return to the Cavs after missing the previous four games after the death of his grandmother, Lela “Madea” Nicholson, who raised him.
Davis joined the Cavaliers in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers in late February, and Thursday night’s game was just his fourth with Cleveland.
The Blazers were coming off a 104-101 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday that snapped a two-game losing streak. The Blazers moved within two games of idle Denver for fifth in the Western Conference.
Portland sits at 39-29, one game behind their record at the same time last season, when Portland won 50 games and finished as the sixth seed in the West.
“That was a really, really good game for us,” Portland’s Brandon Roy said. “We’ve got a lot of battles coming up and we needed a good game like that to come out and dominate early, and not have to fight so hard in the fourth quarter of the game.
Cleveland was coming off a 97-93 victory at Sacramento on Wednesday night that ended a four-game losing streak.
Scott said he thought that after the win the night before, the Cavs “forgot that we have to come in here and play a team that’s much better.
“Guys didn’t have any focus on what we were doing, and it trickled down from one guy to the last guy,” Scott said. “We got exactly what we deserved.”
The Cavaliers had won the last three games at the Rose Garden, all with LeBron James. … The Blazers were 0-2 against Cleveland last season. … It was Portland’s biggest win since they beat Chicago 116-74 on Nov. 116-75. … Portland scored 28 points off of 19 Cleveland turnovers. … Cleveland’s 21 field goals and six assists were both season lows for a Portland opponent.