Cavs at Pelicans
Smoothie King Center
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
1. The Cavaliers ended a grueling stretch of four games in five nights. They dropped both games of a back-to-back road set in Oklahoma City and New Orleans. Both teams were under .500 at the time of the game. The Cavs ended an 8-game winning streak in OKC.
2. Cavs forward LeBron James returned to the lineup after a one-game absence with a sore left knee. He matched his season high with 41 points, including 19 in the first quarter. He didn't play like someone who had a sore knee. He didn't serve as playmaker. He was in attack mode from the start. Of course, that might happen when a team tries to defend him with Luke Babbitt.
3. Guard Kyrie Irving suffered a knee contusion in the OKC game. He didn't look right in the New Orleans game - at least in the first three quarters. He missed his first nine shots from the field. Then in the fourth quarter, he made 7 of 10 shots for 17 points. Irving also dished out seven assists.
4. The Cavs were scheduled to take Saturday off and then practice on Sunday. They host Charlotte on Monday, the first game of a five-game homestand. This won't be an easy 5-game stretch, as they face playoff teams like Charlotte, Atlanta and Memphis.
5. The Pelicans were 12 of 28 from the 3-point line. Forward Ryan Anderson was particularly lethal with an 8-for-14 performance en route to 30 points. In two games against the Cavs this season, Anderson averaged 31 points. He was a load to handle on Friday. The Cavs switched James onto him to try to slow him down. All that did was open up driving lanes for Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans, who fired in 31 points and dished out 10 assists. Anderson has one of the quickest releases on his shot in the league.
6. The Cavaliers caught a huge break when Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis, an early leader for MVP honors, was knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury. The 6-10, 220-pounder is averaging 25.1 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.9 blocks. He played just 6:30 in the game, but it didn't make one bit of difference. The Pelicans shot 55.7 percent from the field and totally exploited the Cavs' defense.
7. Before I forget, the Pelicans are in last place in the Southwest Division. If they were in the East, they'd be one of the top five teams come playoff time. The Southwest is easily the best division in basketball with Houston, Memphis, San Antonio and Dallas the other contenders. Wow.
8. Cavs guard Dion Waiters was checked out by doctors with a stomach problem. The Cavs could get swingman Mike Miller (concussion) back for Monday's game.
UP NEXT: vs. Charlotte, Quicken Loans Arena, 7 p.m. Monday
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 267) vs. Omer Asik (7-0, 255)
Pelicans - G Eric Gordon, G Russ Smith