Pregame report: Pelicans at Cavaliers
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
News and updates from Quicken Loans Arena prior to Tuesday’s interconference game between New Orleans and Memphis:
• Pelicans Coach Monty Williams said in pregame that he’s encouraged by the way some of his less-experienced players have performed recently, but that it’s too small of a sample to make sweeping evaluations. New Orleans has won two straight and three of its past four games, the latter stretch starting with a Martin Luther King Day win at Memphis.
• When healthy, Tyreke Evans has played well for a fairly lengthy stretch, including a 23-7-7 game vs. Orlando on Sunday. Williams noted that the next step for Evans is to “play both ends (of the floor) consistently and become a better jump shooter.” Defenders often back off Evans when he’s near the three-point line, daring him to shoot from the perimeter instead of his bread-and-butter of attacking the rim.
• A native of Toledo, Ohio, Pelicans point guard Brian Roberts said he had 19 friends and family members at Friday’s win at Detroit, and may have more than that in the stands tonight.
• Kyrie Irving had 35- and 31-point games against New Orleans last season, proving even more difficult than usual to stop. In a Nov. 22 matchup in the Crescent City, the All-Star point guard was held a bit more in check, with 22 points on 9-for-22 shooting from the field. “You have to do a lot in your game-planning against him,” Williams said. “We haven’t been able to stop him since he’s been in the league.”
• One of the big Cavaliers topics locally is a recent Akron-Beacon Journal article that criticized Irving, including a headline stating that Irving’s “accolades outnumber his successes.” Irving has been voted by fans as an All-Star starter despite Cleveland’s record of 16-28 in a less than formidable Eastern Conference.