NBA Game Preview - Cavaliers v Pelicans

 
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104
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Cleveland 25 30 28 21 104
New Orleans 43 27 25 21 116
116
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CT0:00 , February 28, 2020
Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana  Attendance: 18,304

Clicking Cavs look to hamper Pelicans' playoff push

According to STATS
According to STATS

Cleveland Cavaliers at New Orleans Pelicans

  1. The Pelicans beat the Cavaliers in Cleveland, 125-111, when these teams met at the end of January. New Orleans has won three straight over Cleveland, tying three other streaks for the longest win streaks over the Cavaliers in franchise history.
  2. Cleveland has won four of its last five games directly following a 1-13 stretch from January 13-February 9. The Cavaliers are allowing 110.0 points per game over their last five games after opponents averaged 120.5 over their previous 14.
  3. New Orleans lost to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Tuesday but has won five of its last seven games. The Pelicans made just eight three-pointers against the Lakers after making at least 10 in each of their previous 16 games, the second-longest streak in franchise history.
  4. Collin Sexton scored 28 points on 9-of-16 (.563) shooting in his team's Wednesday win over Philadelphia. In his career, Sexton shoots 48.4 percent in Cleveland wins compared to 42.8 percent in losses.
  5. Zion Williamson has 303 points 13 games into his NBA career (23.3 ppg). Since the NBA-ABA merger, only one player reached 300 points in fewer games: Michael Jordan (323 points in 12 games, 26.9 ppg).
  6. New Orleans averages 115.8 points, fourth most in the NBA, while Cleveland allows 114.7 per game, eighth most. The Pelicans have scored 115+ points in 21 of their 25 wins while the Cavaliers are 2-29 when allowing at least that many.

The New Orleans Pelicans' playoff push is off to a good start.

The Pelicans won two of three on a road trip to start their post-All-Star break schedule and moved closer to the eighth playoff position in the Western Conference.

The Cleveland Cavaliers aren't going to the playoffs, but they have been playing well of late, too. They have won four of five as they prepare to visit New Orleans on Friday.

The Pelicans have won five of their past seven games overall. They beat Portland and Golden State before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers 118-109 in the final game of their road trip on Tuesday.

Rookie Zion Williamson had 29 points and six rebounds, his ninth consecutive game with at least 20 points. All-Star forward Brandon Ingram had 34 points. It was the first time Ingram and Williamson, who has played just 13 games, both had at least 25 points in the same game.

"I think it was only a matter of time," Williamson said. "Eleven, 12, 13 games in, the chemistry was eventually going to be found and I think we're finding it."

The Pelicans are in 10th place in the West, three games behind eighth-place Memphis but just 1 1/2 games out of 13th place.

"We understand what's at stake," New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said. "We have 24 games left and the margin for error is almost none. You have five teams trying to get one spot."

New Orleans, which has won its past eight home games against the Cavaliers, won 125-111 at Cleveland on Jan. 28. That was the Cavs' 13th loss in 16 games -- but things have changed.

"They're probably on a high right now because they're playing very, very well," New Orleans guard Jrue Holiday said of the Cavaliers. "But we're also playing very, very well."

The Cavaliers never trailed in a 108-94 home victory against Philadelphia on Wednesday. They played without starting center Andre Drummond, who is day to day because of a strained left calf. Tristan Thompson started in his place and had 14 points and 13 rebounds.

Cleveland is 3-1 under coach J.B. Bickerstaff since John Beilein resigned during the All-Star break.

"Defense, defense, defense," said forward Larry Nance Jr., who had 13 points and 15 rebounds. "J.B. has been preaching that -- just energy and unselfishness. We've really been doing that on both ends, especially the defensive end."

Collin Sexton scored 28 points to lead six Cavaliers in double figures against the Sixers. The victory was the Cavs' second in three nights against a team with a winning record. They overcame a 19-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Miami 125-119 in overtime Monday.

"There's been a concerted effort, to a man, to go out and get after it a little bit harder," Bickerstaff said. "There's an energy that's building and you don't want to be the one guy that's not participating in it.

"You see the leadership, you see the young guys, they are pushing one another, they are holding each other accountable, they are having real conversations to fix problems. The environment and culture we are creating is growing and that's going to be the foundation of it. It's a bunch of guys who play hard but play well together also."

--Field Level Media

Updated February 27, 2020

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