Cleveland (13-53) at Portland (38-29)

By JEFF MEZYDLO, STATS Senior Writer Thursday, Mar 17, 2011 Tipoff: 10:00 pm EDT Thu Mar 17, 2011

Brandon Roy(notes) might be rounding back into form for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Still recovering from knee problems, the veteran guard could be in for another big effort while trying to help the Trail Blazers avoid a fourth consecutive home loss to the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night.

Roy scored 21 points in just under 28 minutes as Portland (38-29) avoided a third straight defeat with a 104-101 victory over Dallas on Tuesday.

It was Roy’s most productive effort and most extensive action in the 10 games he has played since missing 30 with knee issues that required arthroscopic surgery in January. Averaging 15.0 points this season, Roy has had his minutes monitored while coming off the bench since his return.

“It’s a process,” said Roy, averaging 11.2 points since coming back. “I try to stay even keel with everything going on. I’ve got to challenge myself to push through, and know that my body’s OK.”

Coach Nate McMillian, however, still wants to be cautious even after Roy’s big effort helped Portland win for the 12th time in 17 contests. The Trail Blazers are seventh in the Western Conference.

“We’ve talked to him about his minutes. He’s feeling good with the minutes that he’s been getting and we need to keep him there,” McMillan said. “That’s working. We haven’t had any setbacks.”

Even with limited minutes, Roy’s return coupled with stellar play from LaMarcus Aldridge(notes), the emergence of Wesley Matthews(notes) and newcomer Gerald Wallace(notes) have the Trail Blazers feeling good about their future.

“He looked like the Brandon Roy of old (Tuesday),” Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki(notes) said. “They’ve got two legit go-to guys with Aldridge, who is playing phenomenal, and him. They’re going to be tough to beat in the playoffs whoever they play.”

Based on his history against Cleveland, fewer minutes may not keep Roy from another strong performance. The three-time All-Star has averaged 26.0 points his last four games against the Cavaliers.

Roy missed Portland’s 111-105 win at Cleveland on Feb. 5. Matthews scored 31 points, Nicolas Batum(notes) had 21 and Aldridge added 20 with 10 rebounds to pick up the slack as the Trail Blazers shot 53.8 percent.

Averaging a career-high 22.4 points this season, Aldridge scored 30 on Tuesday.

Though Portland has not beaten the Cavaliers at home since Jan. 17, 2007, Cleveland (13-53) no longer has LeBron James(notes) to lead the way.

The Cavaliers, however, have won two of three on the road after snapping a four-game skid with a 97-93 win at Sacramento on Wednesday. Ramon Sessions(notes) scored 20 points and Luke Harangody(notes) added 15 with eight rebounds off the bench as the Cleveland shot 51.4 percent.

“At this point, we just want to get as many wins as we can in the final 16 games,” said Sessions, who added six assists and five rebounds.

The Cavaliers could have Baron Davis(notes) back on the floor after he missed the last three games to be with family in Los Angeles following the death of his grandmother.

The veteran guard has averaged 18.0 points and 5.7 assists in three games since being acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 24.

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Thursday, Mar 17