Behind an All-Star performance by power forward Anthony Davis, who logged 30 points, eight blocks and seven rebounds, the New Orleans Pelicans (19-25, 9-14 away) easily disposed of the Cleveland Cavaliers (16-29, 11-12 home) on Tuesday night by the time the second quarter clock hit triple zeros. Even though Cleveland showed a little bit of life in the final frame, New Orleans still cruised to a 100-89 victory. The Cavs final game at Quicken Loans Arena before a three-game road trip ended in a tragic and humiliating fashion once again following a meltdown and debacle against the Suns on Sunday. Cleveland shot 41.3 percent from the field against one of the worst defenses in the League, and allowed the Pelicans to shoot 52.7 percent from the field. That in itself is a losing combination, and that’s not mentioning the 10 blocks New Orleans tallied on Tuesday night.
Key Play to the Game
After Cleveland started off the game by dropping 29 points in the first quarter (keep in mind that they only tallied 29 points total over the final 24 minutes against the Suns on Sunday), the Cavaliers offense went into a stalemate. A combination of an impressive frontcourt effort led on both sides by Davis, horrible offensive execution by the Cavaliers and the fact that nothing was falling at all for the Wine & Gold resulted in the Pelicans earning their first lead of the night with just over four minutes to go in the first half and ending the final five-plus minutes on a 14-0 run. During this time the Cavaliers turned the ball over three times and shot 0 of 9 from the field. The boo birds came out extremely early tonight, making an appearance at the Q before the end of the first half. With just over three minutes remaining in the second quarter, Davis picked up his fifth block of the game–this time on Luol Deng–sparking some extra life into the Pelicans just before the teams would head to the locker room. Two possessions later New Orleans called a timeout with Cleveland still limping to get to the end of the frame. After this break, the Pelicans made good on three unanswered and lazily defended shots and went into the final 24 minutes leading Cleveland by 12 points. From this point on Cleveland really showed no life sans a short spurt to start and end the fourth quarter, but the game was a lost cause at that point in the game.
Wine & Gold MVP
While Tyler Zeller, starting in the place of the injured Anderson Varejao, got off to a swell start in the fourth quarter, the frontcourt defense was too lousy tonight to give the MVP to the early spark plug that was Zeller. From off of the bench the very inconsistent–at least as of late–Dion Waiters finished the night shooting 9 of 13 from the field and 3 of 4 from long range for 21 points. He also added four assists, two steals and one block in what was a rather disappointing showing from the Wine & Gold bench. The backcourt members on New Orleans, especially those on the bench that Waiters was put up against for most of the night, didn’t have as nearly as much success as those belonging to the Pelicans frontcourt had on both ends of the court. Dion had been rather inconsistent, as I stated above, heading into Tuesday night’s matchup, averaging 8.2 points a and shooting 33.3 percent form the field over his past five games. Having this sort of output would have been lovely if Dion’s frontcourt teammates would have shown up to play against someone they knew (Davis) would give them fits in almost every facet of the game. But alas, multiple good things can never go right for the Cavs in one game. Am I right?
Pelicans starting off really slowly but the Cavs cant’ take advantage of it.
— realcavsfans.com (@realcavsfans) January 29, 2014
Rarely see Austin Carr as mad about a Cavaliers player as he currently is about Anthony Bennett.
— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) January 29, 2014
Nice ball movement by the bigs for New Orleans. Disgusting.
— WayneEmbrysKids (@WayneEmbrysKids) January 29, 2014
Boo birds coming out at The Q. It’s getting ugly
— Bob Finnan (@BobCavsinsider) January 29, 2014
— Eric Reimer (@EricReimer) January 29, 2014
Cleveland will be on the road for the next three contests, starting with a Thursday matchup against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. When the Knicks were really reeling this season–in early December to be exact–the Wine & Gold disposed of New York at the Q by 15 points. It was one of Cleveland’s most impressive wins in the early portion of the 2013-14 season, but times, and the rosters, have definitely changed. In early January, New York got off on the right foot, fell off a little bit and are now slowly starting to put the pieces back together. Cleveland, on the other hand, has fallen off the face of the Earth and are one of the greatest perplexities in the NBA this season. But anyways, these two teams searching for spots in the Eastern Conference playoffs will tipoff at MSG at 8 p.m. this Thursday.