NBA Game Preview - Pelicans v Cavaliers

 
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125
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
New Orleans 40 34 30 21 125
Cleveland 34 31 25 21 111
111
4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 PM MST7:30 PM EST4:30 UAE (+1)01:3019:30 ET6:30 PM CT22:30 , January 28, 2020
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, Ohio  Attendance: 19,432

Pelicans' Williamson set for road debut at Cleveland

According to STATS
According to STATS

New Orleans Pelicans at Cleveland Cavaliers

  1. The Pelicans and Cavaliers are meeting for the first time after New Orleans won both matchups last season -- one of only two teams the Pelicans swept in 2018-19 along with the Bulls. New Orleans shot 56.4 percent in last season's two matchups -- its second highest single-season field goal percentage against any team trailing only the 57.5 percent it shot in two games against Philadelphia in 2013-14.
  2. Zion Williamson had 21 points and 11 rebounds in Sunday's 123-108 win over the Celtics, and has now scored 58 points on 24-of-36 shooting (66.7) after his first three games. He is the only player in the last 30 seasons to have 50+ points while shooting 66.7% or better on 30+ shots after three NBA games.
  3. New Orleans had 52 points in the paint Sunday, and is 10th in the NBA in points in the paint per game since New Year's Day at 51.1. It closed 2019 ranking 23rd in points in the paint per game at 45.4.
  4. Jrue Holiday had a team-high 25 points on 10-of-20 shooting against the Celtics, and is averaging 26.3 points on 53.4 percent shooting in the four New Orleans wins he's played in since December 29. He's averaging 12.0 points on 31.0 percent shooting in three Pelicans defeats in that same span.
  5. The Cavs snapped a seven-game losing streak with Monday's 115-100 win at Detroit. They scored 22 second-chance points and are second in the league in second-chance points since January 14, averaging 18.0. Prior to this stretch, they were averaging 13.1 second-chance points.
  6. Kevin Love scored all 20 of his points Monday in the first half, while going 6-of-8 from three-point range. Since December 23, Love's 48.3 percent first-half three-point shooting ranks fourth in the NBA among the 40 players with a minimum of 50 first-half three-point attempts.

The New Orleans Pelicans won for the first time with rookie Zion Williamson in the lineup on Sunday.

Now the No. 1 overall draft choice will make his NBA road debut in the city where the player to whom he is most often compared began his NBA career.

On Tuesday night, the Pelicans visit Cleveland, where LeBron James' debut in 2003 created the same kind of frenzy that Williamson's has.

Williamson had his first double-double -- 21 points and 11 rebounds -- as the Pelicans defeated the visiting Boston Celtics 123-108 on Sunday after losing Williamson's first two games.

"He's played three NBA games now, and what he's done, he's just done on raw talent really," New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said. "He'll get the feel of what we're trying to do and playing in a certain amount of space and how we can give him the ball and things like that. He's going to be a welcome addition. He's going to be a guy that we can finish the game with."

Williamson finished for the first time against the Celtics. After starting each quarter, playing a few minutes and going to the bench for the remainder of each period in his first two games, he returned midway through the fourth quarter and scored eight consecutive Pelicans points as they held off a Celtics comeback.

"I was very anxious," Williamson said of the final minutes, "but it was tough watching from the sideline in the fourth quarter in the last two games. It was good to finally get out there, and it was good to get my first win."

Williamson is averaging 19.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 22.3 minutes, and he is shooting 66.7 percent from the field.

For the Cavaliers, the James days are a distant memory even though his second stint with them, which included a championship in 2016, ended less than two years ago when he signed with the Lakers.

Cleveland, like New Orleans, is coming off a breakthrough win. The Cavaliers ended a seven-game losing streak and won for the third time in 15 games when they defeated the host Detroit Pistons 115-100 on Monday night.

Before that, they were swept on a three-game homestand, falling by an average of 14.7 points.

"The last few games at home, we've really laid an egg," Cavaliers forward Kevin Love said. "Hopefully, this will carry over to (Tuesday) against a high-octane, high-energy team."

Cleveland has lost its past seven home games and hasn't won at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse since Dec. 23.

"We have some great fans back in Cleveland," Cavaliers coach John Beilein said. "We've got to reward them with a win because we haven't done that in a while."

Love scored all 20 of his points in the first half Monday, making six 3-pointers, to lead the Cavaliers, who had lost five of their past seven by at least 10 points. Cleveland wound up winning by double digits for the first time since a 108-87 victory at New York on Nov. 10.

"We came out and played some inspired basketball," Love said. "It's all about effort. We were locked in on what we wanted to get done."

Cleveland led 53-45 at halftime and increased its lead to 89-72 after three quarters. Love didn't even attempt a field goal in the second half.

--Field Level Media

Updated January 28, 2020

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