The Cleveland Cavaliers, for the most part, were as uninspired as ever tonight in a 100-89 loss at home to the New Orleans Pelicans. The Cavaliers, who came into the season with playoff aspirations and then doubled down just weeks ago in acquiring All-Star Luol Deng, fell to 16-29.
With Tyler Zeller and Dion Waiters starting the game hot, the Cavaliers held a small lead for much of the first half. The second half of the second quarter proved treacherous, though, and by the time halftime finally came, the Cavaliers trailed by 12. Things didn't get better in the 3rd quarter, as the Pelicans pushed their lead to 17. The Cavaliers never seriously challenged in the 4th quarter.
The story of the game was Anthony Davis, the electrifying 2nd year power forward from Kentucky. He dominated Tristan Thompson and whoever else the Cavaliers tried to put on him. At 20 years old, it will be a shame if he doesn't get an All-Star nod this season. He did it all in this game and finished with 30 points on 17 shots, 7 rebounds and 8 blocks. I am both frightened and excited by his potential. He could be one of the all-time greats.
Eric Gordon chipped in 20 points, and Brian Roberts finished with 12 points on 7 shots, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. The Pelicans, who have now won four of their last give games, make up for what they lack in cap space by the allure and promise of Anthony Davis. The future would seem to be bright.
Less bright is the immediate future of the Cavaliers. Waiters was the Cavaliers best player tonight, and it was refreshing to see, even in a tough loss. He finished with 21 points on 13 shots and dished out 4 assists for good measure. After Tyler Zeller accumulated 13 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes, he couldn't get off Mike Brown's bench in the 4th quarter. Still, seeing the 2012 draft class have a positive night is a positive takeaway.
Kyrie Irving and Anthony Bennett also had positive performances. Irving with 23 points on 17 shots and 5 assists. It wasn't a great game by his standards but perhaps we don't appreciate when he is merely good.
Anthony Bennett had a rough first half but really turned it up in the second for what was easily his best game as a professional. 15 points on 10 shots, 8 rebounds, and he got 31 minutes of playing time. Anderson Varejao being out was clearly a large part of this, but hopefully Bennett can continue to get minutes in the rotation. 18 a game would be great.
The Cavs fans who braved sub-zero temperatures on a weeknight are to be commended. They gave the Cavs credit when they deserved it, and let them know when they didn't. The season marches on.