Countdown to Tip-Off: Blazers beat Cavs in 2003 home opener

NBC Sports Northwest

 We're counting down the days until the Portland Trail Blazers open up the 2019-2020 NBA season by looking back at each of the home opener wins (the streak is now at 18). Here is a look at what happened back in 2003 when the Portland Trail Blazers faced the Cleveland Cavaliers and a rookie LeBron James for their home-opener.

Can't remember what the NBA was like in 2003? Let's paint the picture:

  • Tim Duncan had just won back-to-back MVP awards

  • The Spurs were the defending champions

  • The Nets were still in New Jersey and made back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals 

  • Tracy McGrady was the league's leading scorer

  • LeBron James was the No.1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft

  • The Blazers had the No.23 pick and drafted Travis Outlaw

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LeBron James was making his first trip to Portland and the Trail Blazers sent him back home with the loss. Cleveland started strong and had the game tied 23-23 at the end of the first quarter, but the Blazers outscored the Cavs 31-16 in the second and never looked back. The final score in this one, 104-85, Portland. It was the first win of the season for the Blazers, and the third straight loss for Cleveland. 

Notable stats: 

Cleveland  -

LeBron James – 8 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds.

Carlos Boozer – 15 points, 9 rebounds

Zydrunas Ilgauskas – 21 points, 4  rebounds


Blazers –

Rasheed Wallace – 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists 

Damon Stoudamire – 14 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists

Zach Randolph – 21 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists

The Blazers would go on to finish the season 41-41 and miss the playoffs. It marked the first time the Blazers had missed the playoffs since the 1981-82 season. 


Countdown to Tip-Off: Blazers beat Cavs in 2003 home opener originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

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