Pelicans fly past Cavaliers 100-89
CLEVELAND (AP) — Anthony Davis isn’t worried about making the All-Star team. He may have nothing to fear.
Davis padded his resume by scoring 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 on the floor, was dominant from baseline to baseline as the Pelicans won their third straight.
With New Orleans hosting next month’s All-Star weekend, the Pelicans are hoping their second-year star will be added to the Western Conference’s squad when reserves are named Thursday night.
"Everybody keeps talking about All-Star, and should he be an All-Star," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. "All you have to do is look at tonight. Show me other bigs who are doing it on both ends like he does every single night."
Davis dislocated his left index finger 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, who followed a 3-2 trip out West by going 1-4 on their homestand. Cleveland’s lone win was against Milwaukee, which has the NBA’s worst record.
"Our competitive spirit is non-existent," said Cavs coach Mike Brown. "Maybe I need to shake some things up."
Kyrie Irving scored 23 and Dion Waiters 21 for Cleveland. Rookie Anthony Bennett, the first pick in last year’s draft, scored a season-high 15 and 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.
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.
Missing Anderson Varejao, who was 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.
Our competitive spirit is non-existent
As the Pelicans were putting the finishing touches on the win, Davis injured his finger 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 said, `tape it up. I’m going right back,’" Williams said. "That to me says more about him than any number or stat that he can put up. His heart and his willingness to do whatever it takes for his team is why he’s an All-Star in my opinion."
Davis returned to the floor, but didn’t have to do much in the final three minutes as the Pelicans had already wrapped up their 10th road victory.
Davis said the All-Star talk is not distracting.
"It’s cool," Davis said. "I hear it, but I’m trying to win games. I’m trying to get better each and every day. If it happens, I’ll be more than grateful and more than excited to be able to play."
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 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.
Irving said the Cavs have not tuned out Brown, whose second second stint with Cleveland has not gone well to this point.
"As a team, we go through stretches where it’s ups and downs, that’s just part of the game," Irving said. "I leave my trust with coach Brown, I’m riding with him. Whatever he says and whatever he needs me to do, I’m going to go out there and do. I’m pretty sure all of my teammates feel the same way and that’s where that rests. Anything he needs us to do, I’m willing to do and I know my teammates do as well."
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." … New Orleans has won six of seven vs. Cleveland.