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Find out the scoop on the CAVS from award-winning sports writer Bob Finnan.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Game 13: Cavs at Pelicans

New Orleans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: When is this nightmare going to end?

When an NBA team has a 12-point lead with 4 minutes, 44 seconds to play, they are supposed to win. But the Cavs failed to close out the Pelicans.

Earl Clark, who was yanked out of the starting lineup, buried a 3-pointer to give the Cavs 93-81 lead. From that point in the game, the Cavs were outscored, 23-7.

This one hurt. The Cavs played with fire and aggressiveness. It would have been a perfect way to start the road trip that concludes in San Antonio on Saturday.

They'll be about a 10-point underdog in San Antonio. As it is, they are 1-7 on the road this season. They've also lost five of their last six overall.

There were a few numbers that really stood out:

--The Pelicans outscored the Cavs in fastbreak points, 23-2. Sure, they might have the best backcourt in the NBA, at least the deepest. But that shouldn't happen.

--They pounded the Cavs on the boards, 49-37. That dominance was never more evident than on the offensive glass, 19-6.

--They outscored the Cavs in second-chance points, 25-8.

--Rookie Carrick Felix made his NBA debut. He had two turnovers in 1:38 and was benched.

--Fellow rookie Matthew Dellavedova made his first NBA start (giving the Cavs two Australian-born starters in the backcourt). He did almost nothing in 12 minutes but commit five personal fouls. He wasn't nearly as effectively on the defensive end as he has been. Pelicans guard Eric Gordon just blew by him a few times.

The Pelicans' best player is power forward Anthony Davis, who has gotten off to a fantastic start. He's averaging 21 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.0 blocks and 1.9 steals per game. Those are All-Star numbers, and one reason why Cavs power forward Tristan Thompson must show up for this game.

Davis finished with 17 points, a game-high 13 rebounds and three blocks.

One can see why Davis was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. Of course, the Cavs' No. 1 pick in 2013, power forward Anthony Bennett, isn't even in Brown's rotation. I've never seen a No. 1 overall pick struggle as much as he has to start the season.

He's making the Cavs' talent-evaluators look bad right now.

Cavs center Andrew Bynum has been cleared to play in both games this weekend. The medical staff appears to be close to loosening his minutes restrictions, which had been around 21 minutes.

He started fast on Friday, but fizzled thereafter. He ended with eight points, one rebound, a season-high four assists and two blocks. 

Late in the game, Coach Mike Brown went with Thompson at center.

UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to San Antonio at 8 p.m. Saturday at AT&T Center.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Al-Farouq Aminu (6-9, 215)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Anthony Davis (6-10, 220)
C Andrew Bynum (7-0, 294) vs. Jason Smith (7-0, 240)
SG Matthew Dellavedova (6-4, 200) vs. Eric Gordon (6-4, 215)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Jrue Holiday (6-4, 205)
Cavs - G/F C.J. Miles, C Henry Sims
Pelicans - F Darius Miller, C Greg Stiemsma
Joe Crawford, Leroy Richardson, Ben Taylor


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