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Final Score: Shorthanded Cleveland Cavaliers routed by New Orleans Pelicans 123-104

Down three key players, the Cavs were no match for the Pelicans.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Nightly Notables

Dean Wade, in what was arguably his best game of the season offensively, led the Cavs with 20 points and finished 6-8 from three. Jarrett Allen added 14 points and 7 rebounds, while Max Strus had 13 points, but finished 4-16 from the field.

Pelicans forward Trey Murphy III leda ll scorers with 28 points; Murphy was 6-10 from three. The Pelicans had seven players in double figures and shot 54.7% from the field. The Cavs, by. comparison, finished shooting 47.1% from the field.

Well... that happened

Cleveland’s defense wasn’t good in this game — and it hasn’t been good over this current stretch without Evan Mobley. New Orleans, per Cleaning The Glass, finished with an offensive rating of 133.7. Overt his this stretch, the Cavs’ are giving up 126.2 points per 100 possessions. That’s a far, far cry from where this team was last year and what it has been at its best this year.

Big Picture

This loss, considering that it was on the second night of a back-to-back and Donovan Mitchell was again out on top of the Garland and Mobley injuries, was predictable. Sure, the Pelicans were without Zion Williamson. But the Cavs were far more shorthanded and playing a style that isn’t really how they want to play. The Cavs are a patchwork team right now.

That said: Going 3-1 over the first three games without Garland and Mobley is a success, even with this loss. There are tough games to come — notably Dallas and Milwaukee next week — before the team gets healthy again. But so far, they’ve done enough to get wins and have another winnable game coming up on Saturday in Chicago. Things aren’t great for the Cavs, but they could be worse.

Up next: The Cavs are back in action on Saturday against the Chicago Bulls. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. EST.