It was a close game the whole way, but it looked as if the Wine & Gold were going to pull this one out. Alas, it was not meant to be, as down the stretch, the Pelicans were able to get buckets when it mattered most- even overcoming a 12-point Cavaliers lead in the final four minutes. First it was an Anthony Davis putback. Then, after Kyrie Irving gave the Cavaliers a one point lead, Eric Gordon put the first nail in the coffin by hitting a corner three. From there, fouling only delayed the inevitable, as Cleveland fell in New Orleans 104-100.
Key Play to the Game
In the end, Gordon’s three mentioned above was the back breaker. The Pelicans did a great job of penetrating the Cavaliers defense and kicking out to the wide-open Gordon. The oft-injured Pellie kept his feet steady, behind the line and calmly nailed the three. And the timing could not have been better, as only 31 seconds were left on the clock when the shot went down. The timing put the Cavaliers in a tough spot, forcing them to rush their next shot (which they did and the octopus armed Anthony Davis swatted it away). That three, without question, was the key moment of the game.
Wine & Gold MVP
I am going to give out this MVP award to two players: Dion Waiters and Jarrett Jack. Both players have been erratic and inefficient this season and they came up big in New Orleans. Combined, they were 14 of 23 from the field, good for 33 points. On a night where Kyrie Irving was 9-22 (although he did finish with a game high 22 points) and C.J. Miles was out with a calf injury, the two guards needed to come up big and they did. Their production and composed play was incredibly important and maybe it’s the step in the right direction we’ve been waiting for. Maybe.
Can’t find the Cavs game on TV but the Grizzlies’ offense is on ESPN tonight, so it’s basically the same
— Trevor Magnotti (@Tmagnotti) November 23, 2013
Delly really struggling to stay in front of Eric Gordon. Result is 4 fouls in 8mins.
— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) November 23, 2013
If you are furious about the Cavs after tonight – you must not have watched Wednesday
— Thomas Pestak (@tompestak) November 23, 2013
Pretty predictable that the Cavs lost the game, no?
— Conrad Kaczmarek (@ConradKazNBA) November 23, 2013
@HPbasketball What are the chances the Cavs end up with ANOTHER 1st pick, then use it on a lower-rated guy like Andrew Harrison?
— Two-Minute Warning (@tmwarning) November 23, 2013
Coach Brown Breakdown
I’ve recently been critical of Mike Brown’s coaching of late, but I liked how he handled this team tonight. I could have done without the Carrick Felix experiment, but I liked him turning to Sergey Karasev, as he played the C.J. Miles role and hit a few open threes when the ball swung his way. He also stuck with Waiters when the enigmatic guard played poised – a good sign considering all of the chatter about his possible benching. In the end, if Matthew Dellavedova is going to start, I can live with it as long as Waiters plays more and when the game really matters.
Brown also did a good job tonight of fitting is personal to match up with New Orleans many weapons. Earl Clark played well early and looked good defending Ryan Anderson, so I was happy to see Brown stick with him as wel. All in all, it was a solid night of coaching for Brown. I’ll be interested to see A) who starts at shooting guard tomorrow in San Antonio and B) how he defensively game plans for a team poised to pick the Cavaliers apart with outside shooting. Tonight, considering (for the lack of a better word) awkwardness of the some of the Pelicans lineups, Brown reminded us that he’s not as bad as Bill Simmons makes him out to be.
The Cavaliers face a stern challenge tomorrow night, as they will be taking on the San Antonio Spurs on a back-to-back. It helps that San Antonio also will be traveling after a game, but it’s the Spurs. They are one of the best teams in the league and are a horrible matchup for the Cavaliers.
However, the Spurs match up as the potential to be a very interesting one. It appears as if Andrew Bynum will play in his first back-to-back and, as I talked about above, the play of Waiters and Jack tonight has me feeling good. Plus, we get to see Kyrie Irving and Tony Parker go head-to-head. And that has to be better than the Kyrie-Derrick Rose matchup, right?