Cavs comeback late to stop Pelicans behind Garland's 30, 113-103  
            BY TIM SHIRER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - The Cleveland Cavaliers returned home on Monday to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. day with an afternoon game against the visiting New Orleans Pelicans. The return home comes after a west coast road trip where the Cavs went 2-3 losing final leg of the trip on Saturday night against the Timberwolves in Minnesota 110-102. It wasn’t pretty, it was a struggle for most of the day, but in the end the Cavs did what they do more often than not they found a way to win. Capturing a 113-103 win sending the MLK Day crowd home happy.

After a stirring pregame presentation honor the late Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. the Cavs got off to a good start taking an early 9-2 lead after a turnover by the Pelicans Isaac Okoro hit a three-point jumper with 10;04 left in the first quarter. The Pelicans responded with a 11-2 run to take a 13-11 lead with 6:27 left when Trey Murphy III hit a three from 25 feet. Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff immediately called a timeout. The Cavs immediately tied the game when Jarrett Allen slammed home an alley oop from Darius Garland with 6:05 left. The Pelicans scored the next six points to go up 19-13. At this point Ricky Rubio entered the game for the Cavs for his first home game as a Cav in 386 days. He received a very loud ovation from the RMFH crowd. A couple minutes later former Cav Larry Nance, Jr. entered the game for the Pelicans and received a very nice round of applause from the Cavs faithful. The Pelicans increased their lead to 23-14 with 2:09 left in the first quarter when Devonte’ Graham was fouled behind the three-point line and drained all three free throws. After the Cavs hit baskets on two straight trips down the floor, they stopped the Pelicans defensively and Caris LeVert was fouled shooting a three pointer and he hit two of the three to pull the Cavs two within 23-20 with 1:02 left on the clock. Cleveland continued to cut the Pelicans lead and when the first 12 minutes ran out the New Orleans led was down to one point at 25-24.
  The Cavs Evan Mobley and Pelicans Jonas Valanciunas led all scorers with eight points each. A problem for the Cavs was turnovers as they committed four in the first period resulting in nine Pelican points. Both teams had nine rebounds apiece.

The turnovers continued to be a problem for Cleveland early in the second as they turned it over twice in the first 2:19 resulting in two points for the Pelicans increasing their lead to 32-24. Another turnover and some bad shooting helped build the Pelicans lead to 38-28 with 6:51 left in the first half. Bickerstaff had seen enough and called for a timeout to stop the bleeding. With the Pelicans leading 43-34 and 4:28 left on the clock in the first half Pelicans guard C.J. McCollum fouled Okoro hard it was reviewed and ruled a common foul. Okoro drained one of two cutting the Pelicans lead to 43-35. The Cavs then cut the lead to 43-37 with 4:05 left when Lamar Stevens jammed home a long Okoro pass. Every time the Cavs cut into the Pelicans lead, they responded. The Cavs cut the lead to 43-40, then allowed New Orleans to score the next five points widening the gap to 48-40 with less than two minutes remaining. Donovan Mitchell cut the New Orleans lead to three points with :00.9 left in the half when he drained a long three as the Pelicans led 50-47 at the halftime break. Valanciunas led all scorers with 13 points in the first half. Mobley led the Cavs with 10. The Cavs did out rebound the Pelicans 19-15 in the first 24 minutes. But turning the ball over plagued the Cavs. They turned the ball over 10 times resulting in 16 New Orleans points. Meanwhile the Pelicans turned it over six times resulting just six Cavs points.

The third quarter was more of the same as the two teams were separated by three points at 81-78 at the end of the period. Mobley and Garland led all scorers with 16 apiece thru three periods. Naji Marshall led the Pelicans with 12 points. The Cavs did continue win the battle of the boards leading 30-23 after three.

The Cavs pulled to within 81-80 with 11:00 left on the fourth quarter clock when Garland hit a jumper. The Pelicans then turned the ball over and the Cavs took the lead in the game 82-81 when Mobley was fouled and hit two free throws with 10:32 left. The Cavs built their lead at the free throw line. After Allen was fouled and hit two. Mobley was fouled again and hit one of two giving the Cavs an 85-81 lead with 9:27 left. Allen was then fouled again, this time at the 8:44 mark by Nance, Jr. Allen hit both free throws and the Cavs advantage was now 87-81. With 8:19 left after an errant three point shot by New Orleans the Cavs took the ball quickly down the floor Garland hit Allen and the Cavs led 89-81 after the big man slammed the ball home with 8:19 left in the contest. The Cavs built their lead to 99-87 with 4:57 left when Okoro drained a three from near the Cavs bench courtesy of a nice pass from Allen. The Pelicans scored the next six points on a pair of threes from Murphy III and Valanciunas to cut the Cavs lead to 99-93 with 4:08 left on the game clock. After the timeout Okoro dropped in a layup, the Pelicans then turned the ball over and Allen hit a jumper in the paint to extend the Cavs lead back to ten points at 103-93 with 3:17 left in regulation. With 1:59 left on the clock Garland hit a three-point basket from just behind the line to give the Cavs a 106-96 lead. The Pelicans scored the next three points cutting the lead to 106-99, but with 1:14 left on the clock McCollum did not like a call by the officials and got a technical foul. Garland converted the free throw giving the Cavs a 107-99 lead. Just :26 later Garland iced the game with a three-point basket giving the Cavs a 110-99 lead. Garland scored the final two points on a couple of free throws with :22 left to secure the Cavs 113-103 win. Garland led all scorers with 30. McCollum led the way in a losing effort for the Pelicans with 25. Five Cavs were in double figures including Garland. Allen had 24, Mobley poured in 19, Okoro and Mitchell each had 11. Mitchell only played 11 minutes in the second half.

Even though they trailed for most of the game the Cavs dominated on the boards 43-28. While turnovers hurt the Cavs in the first half it was a complete turnaround in the second half as the Cavs only turned the ball over five times while the Pelicans turned it over 10 times in the second half and the Cavs took advantage turning the mistakes into 14 points. The Cavs also won the battle in the paint with a 52-40 advantage. The Cavs hard work also paid off with 19 second chance points while the Pelicans tallied only eight.

With the win the Cavs improve to 28-17 and 19-4 at home. The Pelicans drop to 26-18 and 9-13 away from home.

The Cavs will be in action next on Wednesday night as they head back on the road traveling to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies (29-13, 11-10 away, 2nd in the West) at FedEx Forum at 8 pm.. 
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​POSTED 01/16/2023 17:53
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