CLEVELAND -- Tristan Thompson has never been viewed as an elite shot blocker, but that could be changing.As the Cavs prepare to host the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, Thompson is averaging 1.8 blocks per game -- more than double his career mark of 0.8.He ranks in the top 10 in blocked shots after finishing tied for 72nd last season. He enters Wednesday with at least three blocks in four of the last eight games; he blocked at least three shots in four of the Cavs 103 games last season.The last couple of years we just talked to him about being a better rim protector and being in the right spots, coach Tyronn Lue said. This year, he has come out and done it. Tristan has really found his way defensively. We know hes a great inbound defender, great pick-and-roll defender, great post defender. But now helping on the weakside, getting blocked shots and protecting the basket has been great for us.Thompson earned his five-year, $82 million contract prior to last season primarily for his defensive work. He may be improved this season as a shot blocker, but he still takes the most pride in his ability to switch onto smaller guards in pick-and-rolls. After chasing around Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith and LeBron James every day, Thompson is able to handle most other guards and wings.I hope they start giving some credit to guys that can guard guards, Thompson said. I know thats not a stat, but that should definitely count. Hopefully I get some credit and make sure you guys dont forget about me when its time to put that name on the (All-Defensive) ballot.The Blazers, meanwhile, are still waiting for their center to get healthy. Ezeli rejoined the team Tuesday in New York after seeking a second opinion on his ailing left knee, but the team provided no real update. Ezeli has yet to appear in a game for the Blazers after receiving an injection in his knee in August that was supposed to keep him sidelined for six weeks.Portland lost at New York, 107-103, Tuesday to fall to a middling 8-8. It has been a disappointing start to the season for a Blazers team that spent $250 million last summer to retain guards C.J. McCollum and Allen Crabbe and add free agent Evan Turner. As a result, Wednesdays game features the two top payrolls in the NBA.The Cavs are embarking on a title defense with their $131 million, but the Blazers are off to a sluggish start despite the summer spending spree and $120 million payroll.I think we are a very average team right now and it shows in our record, McCollum said. The talent is there, but we are not executing well.James missed practice for the Cavs on Tuesday to give his deposition in former players union executive director Billy Hunters wrongful termination lawsuit. James is the vice president of the players union. The deposition is not expected to impact his availability for Wednesdays game. Jaguars Hoodies Jerseys Sale . Anthony Davis had 31 points and 17 rebounds in his seventh straight game with more than 20 points, but that was only enough to keep the Pelicans competitive into the final minutes. Andrew Bogut had 10 points and 15 rebounds for Golden State, which rebounded from a loss a night earlier in Oklahoma City and snapped a two-game skid. Tanner Lee Hoodie . LOUIS -- Roman Polak was celebrating even before Alexander Steen scored the winning goal in Saturdays 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. http://www.cheapjaguarshoodiesjerseys.com/ .35 million, one-year contract that avoided salary arbitration. Plouffe batted .254 with 14 home runs and 52 RBIs in 477 at-bats last season, his second as a regular in the lineup. DJ Chark Hoodie . - The Washington Redskins have cut defensive lineman Adam Carriker and punter Sav Rocca. Taven Bryan Hoodie . In Europe, top teams seem to be largely happy with their squads after spending nearly $1 billion in the off-season. And although English league clubs are unlikely to splash cash in January, Arsenal and Chelsea could be tempted to strengthen their squads with new strikers. LOS ANGELES -- Bennie Boatwright scored a season-high 17 points and DeAnthony Melton added 15 to lead Southern California to a 78-73 victory over SMU on Friday night.Boatwright made 4-of-7 3-pointers and Jonah Matthews scored 14 points for the Trojans.USC (5-0) improved to 5-1 all-time against the Mustangs and shot 49.1 percent from the field.Melton scored nine points during a 19-4 run -- capped by Meltons 3 -- that gave USC a 51-41 lead with 10:56 to play.SMU cut the score to 74-68 with 1:15 to play following a steal and layup by Shake Milton but would get no closer.Ben Moore led SMU with 14 points. Semi Ojeleye added 13 while Milton and Sterling Brown each scored 12.The Trojans took a 19-14 lead following a 3-pointer by Shaqquan Aaron at the 9:39 mark. The Mustangs battled back and took a 22-21 lead before USC took a 28-27 lead iinto the break.ddddddddddddBIG PICTURESMU: With five players averaging double figures and the Mustangs having led the American Athletic Conference in shooting percentage for the last 3 seasons, SMU figures to finish higher in conference than middle of the pack as predicted.USC: USC has four starters averaging in double figures and its four freshmen are contributing. For the second consecutive season, the Trojans open the season at 5-0. The Trojans are one of four Pac-12 teams still undefeated.UP NEXTSMU: The Mustangs continue their two-game road trip at Boise State before returning home to open a six-game home stand.USC: The Trojans wrap up their six-game home stand against UC Santa Barbara on Sunday. 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