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Wrap-Up -- If the Cavaliers were looking to get back on track over their four-game homestand before departing on their longest roadie of the season, time is running out.
The Cavaliers have now dropped their first three games of the homestand – including Saturday night’s lopsided, 133-98, decision to the Pelicans – and their losing streak stands at nine straight.
The storyline was a familiar one. Although unlike the previous evening’s loss to the Jazz, this contest started slipping away just before intermission. Unlike the previous evening, the Cavaliers found themselves trailing by 30-plus in the fourth quarter.
Once again beset by injuries, the Cavaliers had only nine healthy bodies again on Saturday. But even when everyone returns, Coach Larry Drew hinted at some lineup changes in order to jumpstart a starting unit that just hasn’t kept Cleveland competitive.
The Pelicans – who haven’t played since Wednesday – took a two-point lead after one quarter and were up by nine at intermission. But after scoring 33 points in the second quarter, New Orleans outscored Cleveland, 37-20, in the third – taking a 26-point edge into the final period and cruising to the finish line from there.
Anthony Davis and Julius Randle each doubled-up for New Orleans, with Jrue Holiday tying for the team-lead with 22 points in the win. Overall, seven Pelicans notched double-figures, shooting 58 percent from the floor and 52 percent from beyond the arc – tallying 105 points over the final three quarters.
Jordan Clarkson paced the Cavaliers, leading the squad in scoring for the 17th time this season with a game-high 23 points on 8-for-17 shooting, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and 4-of-5 from the stripe, adding four boards, three assists and a steal.
Clarkson cans 23 points in Saturday night loss to NOLA.
Collin Sexton notched double-figures for the fourth straight game – finishing with 15 points, going 5-of-12 from the floor to go with three boards and a pair of helpers.
Cavaliers two-way player Jalen Jones made the most of his opportunity on Saturday – coming off the bench to net 15 points on 7-for-13 shooting, adding five boards and three steals in just under 28 minutes of work.
Cedi Osman pitched in with 13 points, going 5-for-12 from the floor, including 2-of-4 from deep, to go with five assists and three steals.
In his third contest back from a sprained left foot that sidelined him for 10 games, Tristan Thompson tallied his first double-double since December 8, finishing with 10 points and a team-high 11 boards in the loss.
Julius Randle, who’s tormented the Wine & Gold in the past, was back at it again on Saturday – leading the Pelicans with 22 points to go with game-highs in boards (12) and assists (eight).
Turning Point -- Jalen Jones opened the scoring for the Cavaliers in the third quarter. The problem is that particular bucket came with 7:44 to play in the period.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out exactly where Saturday’s contest got away from the Wine & Gold. They simply couldn’t hit a shot to start the second half, and New Orleans made them pay.
While the Cavaliers were struggling to score, the Pelicans had no trouble to start the second stanza – rattling off the first 15 points of the third period to take a 24-point edge.
By the time Jones hit two straight shots, the game was essentially out of hand – as New Orleans extended its lead to 30 late in the third and as many as 39 in the fourth.
By the Numbers – 16 … games this season that Tristan Thompson has registered a double-double, including Saturday’s loss to New Orleans – averaging 15.5 points and 15.0 rebounds in those contests.
Quotable – Tristan Thompson, on taking another home loss on the chin …
"If you love this game and you care about being a competitor, you’re going to hate times like these. You’re going to have sleepless nights, and it’s going to mess with you."
Up Next -- After falling to the Pelicans on Saturday night, the Wine & Gold wrap up their four-game homestand on Tuesday before embarking on their longest roadie of the campaign – welcoming the Pacers to The Q for the second time this season. The following night, the trip begins with a rematch against the Pelicans in the Big Easy. On Friday night, the Cavaliers visit James Harden and the Rockets in Houston with a date against (possibly) LeBron James and the Lakers on Sunday. On Wednesday, Cleveland takes on the Blazers in Portland before wrapping up the junket with a weekend back-to-back against the Jazz and Nuggets.