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Cavaliers happy to arrive safely in Portland after massive snowstorm

Jason Lloyd, Akron Beacon Journal on

Published in Basketball

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Tyronn Lue had one thought when he learned the Cavaliers' charter flight was taking off from Salt Lake City early Wednesday morning without knowing where they would land.

"Just land safely," he laughed. "That's the biggest thing for us."

The city of Portland -- and Oregon as a whole -- were both under a state of emergency Wednesday after more than a foot of snow paralyzed a region unaccustomed to dealing with severe weather.

The game between the Cavs and Trail Blazers started Thursday night as scheduled even though an overnight storm wreaked havoc on both teams' travel plans and temporarily closed Portland's airport. The Cavs and Trail Blazers were both trying to fly to Portland following games Tuesday night. The Blazers played at Los Angeles.

The Cavs landed in Portland around 2:15 a.m. PST Wednesday and didn't get to their hotel until close to 4 a.m. The Blazers never made it to Portland, instead rerouting to Seattle and spending the night there. Stotts said once the flight was rerouted to Seattle, they didn't have the opportunity to change the itinerary back to Portland when the weather cleared slightly.

"Portland (airport) opened up, but (the Cavs) had all of the logistics planned. They had their hotel, they had buses there," Stotts said. "The logistics on the ground were already in place. Whereas once we set our flight plan, we weren't able to make changes midflight."

The Blazers landed in Seattle around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday and arrived at their hotel around 4:15. They took an 11 a.m. bus back to Sea-Tac airport and flew to Portland. They booked hotel rooms for the players in Portland upon arrival to keep everyone together. They arrived to their Portland hotel around 2 p.m. and took a 4:30 bus to the arena for the game against the Cavs.

Stotts said the team quickly ruled out the idea of taking buses from Seattle to Portland on Wednesday, a stretch of about 170 miles, because he was confident the airport would open up at some point and trying to travel that far on snow-covered roads would've been worse. But the team booked hotel rooms for the players in Portland because they weren't sure what condition the city would be in upon landing.

"Just not giving them the opportunity to miss (the game) or be late," Stotts said. "It just made more sense."

All of the Blazers players' cars remained at the airport. Stotts said the team had a bus available after the game to take players back to their cars. Players will have the option of picking up their car and going home or staying the night in the hotel and driving home Thursday.

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