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Wrap-Up -- After a furious final three quarters on Tuesday night at The Q, Cleveland got off to a blazing start to tip off their road trip in New Orleans.
But after going 8-of-8 from beyond the arc and leading by 13 after one quarter, the Cavaliers cooled off considerably – as the Pelicans wore down the Wine & Gold over the next three, pulling away late for the 140-124 victory.
The win was New Orleans’ second over Cleveland in the past five days – while sending the Cavaliers to their 11th straight loss as they embark on their longest roadie of the season.
That first period was one of the Cavaliers’ best of the season – shooting 60 percent from the floor, including a perfect mark from long-range, while holding the Pelicans to 31 percent shooting.
But New Orleans would awaken from that point forward, scoring 34 points in the second period and a combined 81 in the second half.
Both teams’ benches were huge on Wednesday – with the Pelicans’ reserves combining for 54 points and Cleveland’s finishing with 75. The difference came down to a singular starter – perennial MVP candidate Anthony Davis – who led everyone with 38 points and 13 boards, going 11-for-17 from the floor and 15-of-16 from the stripe, adding seven assists, a pair of steals and four blocks.
The Cavaliers were led, as they often are, by Jordan Clarkson – who finished with 21 points on 9-for-16 shooting, adding four boards to go with team-highs in steals (3) and blocked shots (3).
Matthew Dellavedova was another of the four Cavaliers to net double-figure scoring off the bench – tallying 10 of his 17 points in the first period, going 6-of-8 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from long-distance to go with a team-high seven assists.
Clarkson tallies his 37th double-digit scoring effort of the season.
Cameron Payne joined the bench mob – turning in his second solid outing in as many games with the Wine & Gold, finishing with 16 points and, like Delly, going 6-of-8 from the floor, 3-of-5 from deep.
The fourth reserve to register double-figures was Ante Zizic, who chipped in with 10 points and four boards in just over 20 minutes of work.
Alec Burks tallied 17 points to lead Cleveland’s starters – going 4-of-7 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the stripe.
Collin Sexton pitched in with 13 points, but struggled to do so, connecting on just 2-of-12 from the floor and 8-of-8 from the stripe. Cedi Osman rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 10 points on 3-for-9 shooting.
Turning Point -- The Cavaliers had an uncharacteristically outstanding third quarter in Tuesday’s matchup at The Q, but they came back down to earth in the Big Easy.
Everything went right for the Wine & Gold in that first period, but the Pelicans began chipping away at the lead in the second quarter and Cleveland went into the locker room up four.
But New Orleans looked like a different squad in the second stanza, using a quick 10-4 run to take the lead, 69-67, on Anthony Davis’ dunk with 9:32 to play in the period.
The Cavaliers would tie the contest twice more over the next two minutes, but the Pelicans began pulling away down the stretch and extended their edge to as many as 18 in the final quarter.
By the Numbers – 75 … combined points for the Cavaliers bench against New Orleans – the first time this season topping the 70-point plateau. So far this season, Cleveland’s second unit has surpassed 40 points 26 times, 50-plus 13 times and over 60 on two occasions before Wednesday night.
Quotable – Coach Larry Drew, on his squad still trying to put together four solid quarters …
”We just have to buckle down and try to put four solid quarters together, which we haven’t been able to do. We just have to continue working on it.”
Up Next -- After falling to the Pelicans on Wednesday night in New Orleans to tip off their 11-day sojourn, the Wine & Gold head to Houston for a Friday night matchup with James Harden and the Rockets. On Sunday night, it’s a Tinseltown showdown against the Lakers at Staples Center, followed by a Wednesday night battle with the Blazers in the Pacific Northwest. The Cavs close out the trip with a back-to-back – taking on the Jazz in Salt Lake City on Friday night at the Nuggets on Saturday in Denver. Cleveland returns home to host Chicago in an afternoon tilt on MLK Day.