Davis dominates as Pelicans beat Cavs 100-89
CLEVELAND (AP) Anthony Davis scored 30 points with eight blocks and seven rebounds and Eric Gordon scored 20, leading the New Orleans Pelicans to a 100-89 win over the puzzling Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.
Davis, one of three No. 1 overall picks in the game, was dominant at both ends of the floor as the Pelicans won their third straight. He injured fingers on his left hand in the final minutes, but got taped up during a timeout and stayed in.
New Orleans scored 16 straight points to close the first half and opened a 22-point lead in the third, causing some fans to boo the listless Cavaliers.
Kyrie Irving scored 23 and Dion Waiters 21 for the Cavs, who had a 1-4 homestand after a 3-2 trip out West.
Cavs rookie Anthony Bennett, the first pick in last year’s draft, scored a season-high 15.
Davis scored 11 points in the third quarter, when he showed off his well-rounded game. He swished a long jumper, dropped a runner, nailed a bank shot and, of course, dunked.
”There’s not much to not like about his game,” Cavs coach Mike Brown said before the game.
Missing Anderson Varejao, out with a hyperextended and bruised left knee, the Cavs had no defensive answer for Davis, who was coming off a 22-point, 19-rebound, seven-block performance in a win over Orlando.
As the Pelicans were putting the finishing touches on the win, Davis jammed his left hand and came to the bench in obvious pain. He bent over as a trainer worked on his fingers and several of Davis’ teammates patted him on the back as he was treated.
He returned to the floor with black tape around two fingers, but didn’t have to do much in the final three minutes as the Pelicans had already wrapped up their 10th road victory.
Gordon added nine assists and seven rebounds. Greg Stiemsma had 10 rebounds for New Orleans.
Bennett was the lone bright spot for the Cavs.
A major disappointment so far, the 6-foot-8 Canadian added eight rebounds and played 31 minutes – his most action this season.
The Pelicans outscored the Cavs 16-0 over the final 5:25 of the second quarter to open a 56-44 halftime lead.
Gordon had six points during the spurt, which included a possession where all five New Orleans touched the ball before Davis took a feed on the baseline and dunked.
Cleveland, which scored just six points in the third quarter of a loss to Phoenix on Sunday, missed its last nine shots of the period. The Cavs committed three turnovers in the last four minutes and shot only 5 of 20 from the field, leaving the floor to a smattering of boos.
The Pelicans stretched it out in the third, taking an 81-59 lead on a basket by Al-Farouq Amin.
With New Orleans hosting this year’s All-Star game, Pelicans coach Monty Williams believes Davis should be added as a reserve to the Western Conference team.
Williams has seen major growth in Davis, the No. 1 overall pick in 2012. The Pelicans monitored the young center’s minutes last season to keep his confidence high, but they don’t have the same restrictions on him now.
”This summer, I just told him, `Look, I’m hands off now. I’m going to put you out there and now you’ve got to go,”’ Williams said. ”He just said, `Coach I’m ready. Let me go.’ I said, `Well, you’ve got to condition yourself to play 35 minutes a night. That’s a tough deal.’ He hasn’t backed down one bit.”
Notes: Cleveland’s Luol Deng scored just six points. He’s been slowed by a sore Achilles. … The No. 34 banner representing former Cavs guard Austin Carr’s retired number was mysteriously missing from its usual place hanging from the arena’s rafters. The Cavs are investigating the disappearance. Carr, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1970 draft who played nine seasons for Cleveland, joked, ”Maybe I’m coming out of retirement.”