The New Orleans Pelicans continued their home winning streak against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday — making it seven straight wins — with a 123-101 victory. Four of the five starters scored 24-plus points, and for the first time in franchise history, three players totaled 29 or more.
Saturday’s win evened the Pelicans record at 3-3, but for a team that has thoroughly disappointed over the last two seasons, tonight marked a notable achievement. The last time New Orleans sat exactly at .500 in-season occurred back on February 20th, 2015!
DeMarcus Cousins headed the attack, recording his first triple-double as a Pelican and the 7th of his career with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. However, the feat was more impressive when taking into consideration his explosive effort against the Sacramento Kings just days earlier.
Not to be outdone, Anthony Davis set off his own fireworks in his return from injury by contributing 30 points and 14 rebounds. Jrue Holiday netted a season-high 29 points on 12-of-17 shooting along with seven assists. Last but not least, E’Twaun Moore reemerged to tied his career high at 24-points.
Though no other player on the New Orleans roster scored more than three points, the Pelicans limited Cleveland’s attack and exploited the defense to carry out a win. Kevin Love played lead for the Cavaliers with 26 points and 11 rebounds. LeBron James had a sub-par night in addition, limited to 18 points, five rebounds and eight assists. With Derrick Rose unable to play, the limitations at point guard plagued the Cleveland offense. Iman Shumpert got the start from the Cavaliers head coach, but only added five points, two rebounds and one assist.
The Pelicans’ hot start turned into a balanced performance as ball movement, surprisingly enough, kept the Cavaliers out of sync. Cleveland did surge, at one point taking the lead 73-72 in the middle of the third quarter, but Davis and Cousins countered well.
The key stretch of the game came when LeBron was rested to open the 4th quarter by Tyronn Lue, but Alvin Gentry countered with putting his All-NBA tandem back on the floor. Following a lay-in by Moore, Davis went ballistic, scoring 12 straight points, which increased the lead from six to 14 in a span of less than two minutes. By the time Cleveland asked for a timeout, the Pelicans were comfortably ahead 105-89, and this time they didn’t relinquish a large lead, coasting to their easiest victory of the season.
The numbers speak to the way New Orleans was able to limit Cleveland’s star power in what was definitely a confidence building win, but the Pelicans sensed a game like tonight was on the horizon.
“We’re going to be a special team, we feel it,” said Davis. Then in the very next instance, he changed his mind, “We don’t feel it, we know it.”
Josh Smith officially signed with the Pelicans today under the injury hardship exemption and scored two points in his seven minutes of play. Starting off on the right foot, he went 1-of-1 from the field, grabbed a couple of rebounds, and surprise, was a part of this outstanding ball movement.
The Pelicans ball movement on this play was EXQUSITE pic.twitter.com/WE86kd2CJy— Justin Jett (@JustinJett_) October 28, 2017
With the win, New Orleans has won three of its last four games, but they’ll next face a team even hotter. The Pelicans will host the 4-1 Orlando Magic on Monday, October 30th at the Smoothie King Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT.