Postgame wrap: Pelicans 125, Cavaliers 111

CLEVELAND – Jrue Holiday dominated at both ends of the floor, Brandon Ingram returned to the scoring groove he’s been in virtually all season and New Orleans continued to roll away from home, this time with the No. 1 pick in a road uniform for the first time.

In a virtual wire-to-wire win Tuesday and second straight victory over an Eastern Conference opponent, the Pelicans piled up 30-plus points in each of the first three quarters, leading comfortably much of the way against the Cavaliers. Holiday and Ingram were both remarkably efficient, combining to shoot 19/29 from the field and 7/11 on three-pointers.

“I thought Jrue was terrific tonight,” fifth-year head coach Alvin Gentry said. “I thought Brandon started the game exactly as we needed for him to start. He hadn’t had many opportunities in the last couple of games, but I thought with the speed that we played with and the ball movement we had, we created some things for him.”

Holiday and Ingram powered New Orleans to a 40-point first quarter and 74-point opening half.

After officially launching his NBA career with three straight games in the Smoothie King Center, forward Zion Williamson posted 14 points and nine rebounds in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. More importantly, he logged 30 minutes, as his playing time continues to incrementally increase with each game. The Pelicans next host Memphis on Friday, in a key matchup for their hopes of moving closer to eighth place in the Western Conference.


New Orleans ensured there would be no “clutch time” in the final five minutes, building an 18-point lead when Nicolo Melli drained a left-wing three-pointer with 4:54 left. JJ Redick previously stretched the visiting advantage to 115-100 with a bucket.


Holiday demonstrated elite defensive versatility, coming up with a handful of blocks and steals, including one of each in the low post vs. Kevin Love on consecutive plays. Similar to his huge offensive game on Martin Luther King Day at Memphis, Holiday was dangerous from the perimeter in Cleveland, sinking three three-pointers among his team-best 28 points. He was 10/16 from the field and 5/6 at the foul line.


53.4: New Orleans shooting percentage from the field. The starters were 32/57 and the bench shot nearly 50 percent, at 15/31.

5: Pelicans players in double digits. New Orleans is near the top of the NBA in number of games this season in which it has had at least five players contribute 10-plus points.

18: New Orleans turnovers, but Cleveland only converted those into 14 points.


For all 12 Tuesday games throughout New Orleans’ regular season, we’ll be selecting a Pelicans player we think will have the best plus-minus on the stat sheet that night. Daniel Sallerson selected Lonzo Ball, while Jim Eichenhofer picked Zion Williamson. In a fan poll among four other candidates, Derrick Favors was chosen. The winner of the fifth plus-minus contest was the fans (Favors had a team-best plus-24, while Ball and Williamson were plus-13 and plus-5, respectively, making the season standings Daniel 2, Fans 2, Jim 1.