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Game Preview: Cavaliers vs Pelicans

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In our last meeting, Cleveland's Big 3 went off and showed their potential as a superstar team for the first time. Whilst Ryan Anderson lit them up from deep and Davis filled the stat sheet. What will happen in round 2?

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Pelicans are looking to take on the newest "Super team", the Cleveland Cavaliers, for the second and final time this season tomorrow night. The Pelicans would love to go 1-1 vs the Cavaliers and put their most recent loss to Dallas behind them and climb back to .500. A lot has changed in the previous month since these two last met. The Cavaliers are currently on an 8-game winning streak and rising up the Eastern Conference standings while the Pelicans have waived two guys and brought two fresh faces in to help their bench woes.

Here’s a summary of what happened the last time these two teams squared off:

  • Ryan Anderson was ON FIRE going 8-12 from 3 and scored 32 Points.
  • Davis had what can only be described as a "Davis Night" -  27 Points, 14 Rebounds, 4 Steals, 4 Assists and 3 Blocks.
  • Excluding Ryan Anderson, the team shot 4-15 on 3’s that night.
  • The Cavs Big 3 finally clicked and scored 86 points between them.
  • This was also the first game where all 3 of them had combined to score 20+.
  • Also, as much as I hate to say it, the refs were awful that game with LeBron getting more than superstar calls. He shot only 3 less free throws than the entire Pelicans team (He shot 17, the Pelicans shot 20).
  • Kyrie and Love shot 10-16 from deep.

Someone who’s been playing exceedingly well for the Cavs since coming back has been Matthew Dellavedova; he brings energy off the bench at the guard spot. His teammates and Coach Blatt speak very highly off him:

Kyrie Irving: "We've developed such a great relationship and you know it's having my brother back out there. Just knowing that what you're going to get from every night is 150%"

Kevin Love: "He's just non-stop. We love him. He even got a 'good for you' from Coach Blatt tonight so that was very Big. He's great, he takes charges, he'll guard anyone 1 thorugh 5 and do anything to stop them"

Three Keys to Victory:

LeBron’s going to be LeBron:

LeBron James is the best player in the world, the Pelicans lack a lock down defender who can guard him, so y’know what let him be him. Let LeBron get 30 and 6 Assists if he wants. He’s going to get his. Focus on guarding their next two options in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Those two amassed 54 points last game, but if they score 10 less, we win the game.

Jrue Holiday has been playing great as of late, coming off a 30 & 10 game and playing great defense in his last 5 games. This last bit is especially important as he'll get the challenge of guarding the score-first guard Irving. Anthony Davis has struggled on stretch 4’s in the past, one of the reasons Love is such a tough cover with great passers in this line-up.

Bench Production:

The bench has been playing well since Cunningham and Mekel arrived. This is going to have to continue versus the Cavs with Dellavedova and Thompson off the bench -- their talented-energy guys -- so our bench has to match that. More than likely, Ryan Anderson won't go off for 30+ shooting 75% from deep, but I wouldn't turn that down. Just an efficient and productive night would suit me fine.

Tyreke Evans:

Tyreke scores 4 more points a game in wins whilst shooting 11% better from the field and 20% better from 3 in wins as compared to losses. Tyreke has the ability, but only seems to perform in wins and usually is one of the talking points after a loss. For the Pelicans to have a chance at beating a juggernaut, our star guys must have big games.

Friday Night Matchup | FindTheBest

What: Cavaliers @ Pelicans

Where: Smoovie King Center

When: December 12th, 7:00 PM

How: Fox Sports New Orleans, League Pass