Pelicans 104, Cavaliers 100

Peter Finney Jr., The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW ORLEANS -- Guard Eric Gordon hit a 3-pointer from the left baseline with 31.7 seconds left and the New Orleans Pelicans used a 14-2 fourth-quarter run to erase a 12-point deficit in the final 4:44 to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-100 on Friday night at New Orleans Arena.
Gordon's long-range jumper, which gave him 19 points, came with the Pelicans trailing 98-97 and transformed a cold-shooting night. Gordon had missed his first four 3-point shots until that point.
After Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving missed a driving layup over forward Anthony Davis on the other end, Tyreke Evans (19 points) extended the New Orleans lead to 102-98 with two free throws.
Former New Orleans guard Jarrett Jack, who had 19 points, hit a floater in the lane with 14 seconds left to draw the Cavs within 102-100, but guard Jrue Holiday iced the game for the Pelicans with two foul shots with 12.3 seconds left.
Davis keyed a furious 12-0 run in the fourth quarter with a dunk and a tip-in. He finished with 17 points. Forward Ryan Anderson, who had 13 points, nailed a critical 3-pointer down the stretch as New Orleans evened its record at 6-6.
Irving led all scorers with 22 points, but the Cavs dropped their seventh of nine games to drop to 4-9.
Irving challenged Davis on two consecutive possessions in the third quarter, driving past him in the lane for easy layups, as Cleveland opened a 64-54 lead. But New Orleans scored the next 12 points -- including a 3-pointer and a driving layup by Evans and a 3-pointer by Anderson -- to take a 66-63 lead with 2:22 left in the quarter.
But Earl Clark scored five straight points on the Cavs' next two possessions and Cleveland led 71-70 entering the fourth quarter.
Former New Orleans guard Jarrett Jack hit a 20-footer over Davis and a floater in the lane as the Cavs built a 79-73 lead with 9:34 left. Jack then started feeling the range, hitting a 3-pointer from the right wing to extend the lead to 82-75 and connecting on a 20-footer from the left baseline for an 84-77 lead with 7:21 left.
Irving stripped Holiday on one end and then dribbled the length of the floor for a twisting reverse layup that made it 88-79. When Clark hit a wide-open 3 from the right baseline, the Cavs led 93-81 with 4:44 remaining.
The Pelicans closed within 93-88 with 3:19 left with seven straight, including a 3-pointer by Holiday.
Dion Waiters came off the bench to score 14 points in just 17 minutes of the first half to lead the Cavaliers to a 51-42 halftime lead. He did most of his early damage by dribbling through the Pelicans' defense for easy layups, but he added a 3-pointer from the right baseline and followed up with a conventional three-point play on a drive in the lane to put Cleveland up 47-40.
Gordon led the Pelicans with 10 first-half points, with all four of his baskets coming on drive to the basket.
Despite committing 11 turnovers, Cleveland led 40-37 with 3:49 left in the half before outscoring New Orleans 11-5. The Pelicans shot just 39.5 percent from the floor in the half and the Cavaliers shot 52.6 percent.
NOTES: Cleveland rookie SG Matthew Delladova made his first NBA start after coach Mike Brown thought he played hard in a 98-91 home loss to Washington on Wednesday night. "I know for sure we didn't play hard against Washington until I sat the whole starting five out and put the next five in," Brown said. "The bottom line is I'm trying to establish a culture here, and I want to hold guys accountable." ... Second-year SG Dion Waiters came off the bench for the Cavs, who had lost six of their previous eight games. ... The Cavs are 10th in the NBA in field goal defense (.440), which Brown says is more important to him than points per game or steals. ... Pelicans F Ryan Anderson was 10 of 16 from 3-point range in the previous two games. "Ryan's not even in shape yet," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. "He's not huffing and puffing, but he's not in the groove that he needs to be in. He's never afraid to shoot. I love that." ... With 17 blocks in his previous two games, Pelicans F Anthony Davis is turning heads. "I'm not surprised because he does that in practice," Williams said. "I don't play one-on-one with him anymore because I want to keep my confidence up. We just want him to be a late jumper." One of Davis' best blocks against Utah on Wednesday was a spread-eagle block of a 3-point attempt by Gordon Hayward. "That's what he did in college," Williams said. "It's amazing how he can recover to get to a smaller guy and block the shot."

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