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Dion Waiters

Pelicans Hand Cavs First Summer Loss

July 15, 2013
by Joe Gabriele Beat Writer

For the third straight game, the Cavaliers turned up some serious defensive heat in the second stanza. But it wasn’t enough to get the win, as the Wine and Gold dropped their first Summer League contest – falling to the Pelicans, 66-62, on Monday afternoon at Cox Pavilion.

After allowing the Pelicans to shoot over 70 percent from the floor in the first half, the Wine and Gold’s stingy second-half D held New Orleans to just seven points in the third quarter. But offensively, Cleveland notched just 13 points in the final period and New Orleans’ Brian Roberts’ bucket with 7.5 seconds remaining sealed the deal.

The Cavaliers were once again paced by the sophomore duo of Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller.

Waiters, who notched 23 points in Sunday night’s win over Memphis, led the Wine and Gold with 16 points – going 5-for-16 from the floor and 5-of-7 from the line. The mercurial two-guard from Syracuse added a pair of assists and rebounds and a blocked shot in 30 minutes of action.

Zeller had his third straight solid outing – doubling up with 15 points and 12 rebounds, four off the offensive glass. Zeller went 6-of-11 from the field and 3-of-4 from the stripe, adding two steals and a blocked shot.

Cavs coach Jamahl Mosley talked about what he’s seen from the duo and what they’ll need to focus on moving forward.

“They’re working on the little things – things Coach Brown is going to ask them to do,” said Mosley. “You know, the sprinting back on defense, the boxing out, the little things that they know that they’ve already done for 82 games, they’re going to have to do it at a higher level now that they’ve had a year under their belt.”

Jermaine Taylor came off Cleveland’s bench to net double-figures for the second time in three Summer League contests with 10 points to go with four boards.

Cleveland’s defense, which had been exceptional through most of its first two games, was simply awful in the first half of Monday’s affair. The Pelicans were shooting over 70 percent in the first half and got an uncontested layup to start the second half. Coach Mosley immediately called timeout and, apparently, his squad got the message – allowing just five more points for the remainder of the third period.

Through their first three games, the Cavs have held the Lakers to eight points in the second period on Friday, the Grizzlies just eight in the final period on Sunday and just seven in the third on Monday.

The Cavaliers will now enter tournament play in Summer League, which begins on Wednesday afternoon.

At some point before the Tourney wraps up, however, Zeller and Waiters will be exchanging Wine and Gold for Red, White and Blue as they join their teammate, Kyrie Irving, for the U.S. National Team’s mini-camp. They’ll train daily until their inter-squad game breaks Camp on July 25. Cleveland is the only team with three representatives at Camp.

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