Pelicans Edge Cavs With Late Surge, Win 3rd Straight
New Orleans Pelicans (6-6) head coach Monty Williams earned his 100th career win Friday night as his squad defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-100. However, for much of the game, it appeared Williams would stay at 99 for a bit longer.
Cleveland (4-9) led most of the night, and after an Earl Clark 3 pointer at the 4:43 mark of the 4th quarter, the Cavs held a 93-81 lead over the Pelicans. Williams called a timeout, and his young point guard had a simple message to his teammates.
"There's going to be plenty of times, plenty of games where we're going to be down like that, but it was time for us to grow, grow together," said Jrue Holiday, who finished with a double-double of 15 points and 11 assists. "Everybody kind of responded to that and picked up their defense. Everybody took their defensive assignments to heart."
Holiday challenged his team to take the opportunity to grow. In the NBA, losses can stunt growth. Wins can accelerate it. Especially for the youngest team in the NBA.
"You never give up on a game," said Williams after his 100th win. "You're going to have games when things aren't going your way, but Jrue really stepped up tonight...all of our guys came together...for us, we haven't been in these situations enough to have any corporate equity, but that's what we built tonight."
Defense down the stretch was key, as the Pelicans ended the game on a 23-7 run, something not lost on his head coach.
"We did some really good things in the second half to give ourselves a chance," explained Williams. "It started with the stops."
Eric Gordon (17 points, 4 rebounds) hit a clutch 3-pointer with less than a minute to go, giving the Pelicans a 2 point lead.
“Great win. We needed this," explained Gordon to Fox Sports New Orleans reporter Jen hale. "We really picked it up in the 2nd half.”
New Orleans leaned on their two key reserves, Tyreke Evans (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Ryan Anderson (13 points, 3 rebounds). Evans was particularly assertive, sucking in the Cavalier defense by attacking the paint.
“He was very aggressive, was rebounding the ball and getting it going," said Gordon of Evans. "He was relentless attacking that rim. It was good to see him have a game like this.”
Anthony Davis had a tough night from the field (5-13), but still put up an impressive stat line of 17 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals, and 1 assist. It was his 7th double-double in 12 games this season.
The Pelicans have won 3 in a row, and 4 straight at the New Orleans Arena.
Next up, the toughest challenge of the young season, as the Pels travel to San Antonio for a Monday night matchup with the Spurs (11-1). Tip-off is set for 7:30.