Portland 89, Cleveland 87

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- After Ruben Patterson made sure LeBron

James didn't beat the Portland Trail Blazers, he took a bit of

good-natured ribbing from teammate Zach Randolph.

Randolph serenaded Patterson in the locker room: "If Ruben

can't do it, nobody can!"

Patterson and Randolph each had 16 points and seven rebounds,

and the Trail Blazers edged the depleted Cleveland Cavaliers 89-87

Sunday night.

LeBron James had 29 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for

the Cavaliers, who lost their fourth straight. James had just seven

points in the second half, with Patterson leading the way on


"Ruben came in and gave us big energy," Blazers coach Nate

McMillan said. "He wore LeBron down."

The Blazers, who have won three straight for just the second

time this season, led by as many as 11 points in the second half,

but the Cavaliers cut their deficit to 83-81 on Alan Henderson's

layup. James followed with a 3-pointer to give Cleveland an 84-83

lead with 3:10 to go.

Juan Dixon answered with a 3 to put Portland back in front

before Cleveland's Zydrunas Ilgauskas tied it with a jumper. With

47.7 seconds left, Henderson fouled Randolph, who made both his

shots to give the Blazers an 88-86 lead.

Eric Snow missed one of two free throws to make it 88-87 with

37.1 seconds to go. After both sides missed long jumpers, Ilgauskas

fouled out and Patterson made just one of his foul shots.

James took the ball down the court, and Snow was off with his

long jumper as time wound down.

"I just didn't make the shots I wanted to in the second half,"

James said.

Afterward, McMillan embraced Patterson.

"He just said 'Great D," Patterson said.

The Cavaliers have been hurt by the loss of Larry Hughes, who is

expected to miss eight weeks after having surgery on his broken

right middle finger. Cleveland is 2-5 without him, including a

115-106 loss Saturday at Phoenix. James had 46 points, eight

assists and seven rebounds against the Suns.

The Cavaliers also were without forward Drew Gooden, who left

the game against the Suns with a strained right thigh. The team

said Gooden was day-to-day and scheduled to see a doctor on Monday.

"This is a tough time for us," James said.

The loss of Gooden, who has had six double-doubles in his last

10 games, put an added burden on James, who had 22 points in the

first half.

The Cavaliers trailed by as many as seven points in the half,

but James kept making sure the game didn't get out of hand -- his

rim-shaking dunk made tied it at 43.

After the Blazers led 51-46 at the break, the Cavaliers came out

with a 13-2 run capped by Damon Jones' 3-pointer to take a 59-53


The Blazers came back to take a 77-67 lead on Theo Ratliff's


"Ruben is a good defender ... that's what he prides himself

in," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "He did a great job on D,

making it tough on LeBron, and he had a lot of help from his


Portland was coming off a 113-108 victory over the Orlando Magic

on Friday night, and 113-103 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers

two nights earlier.Game notes
James committed Saturday to join the United States national

team for this year's world championships and 2008 Olympics. ...

Former Southern California coach George Raveling was in the crowd.

... Cavaliers forward Luke Jackson hails from Creswell, Ore., and

went to the University of Oregon, where he played with guard Luke

Ridnour, now with the Seattle SuperSonics.