Davis shines, Pelicans build early lead, drop Cavaliers

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Something is wrong with the system if Anthony Davis is not announced as a reserve for next month's All-Star Game in New Orleans.

Just ask New Orleans Pelicans coach Monty Williams.

"A.D. was stellar again," Williams said. "Questions on should he be an all-star, all you have to do is look at tonight. You show me a big who is doing it on both ends of the floor like he does every single night. I'm thankful I'm able to coach someone like him."

Not even a dislocated left index finger suffered in the fourth quarter could put a damper on Davis' offensive and defensive effort as he led the Pelicans to a 100-89 victory on over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

Since losing eight straight, the Pelicans (19-25) have won three in a row and four of their last five. The Pelicans play at Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.

Davis finished with 30 points, seven rebounds and eight blocks. It was his second consecutive all-star like game (22 points and 19 rebounds vs. Orlando) but talk of the All-Star Game in New Orleans is just talk to Davis.

"It's cool, I hear [about it] but I'm trying to win games," Davis said. "If I'm not busy [I may watch the announcement] but I'm trying to get better each and every day. If it happens, I'll be more than grateful and excited to play."

The Pelicans couldn't find much excitement in a sluggish first quarter where the threw the ball away (six turnovers) and were slow getting into an offensive rhythm. In the second quarter, the Pelicans trailed by four following Kyrie Irving's layup with 5:24 left in the first half. Greg Stiemsma, who was 4-for-4 from the field with eight first-half points, hit a jumper to ignite that incredible run. The Pelicans' run closed out the half with a 56-44 lead.

"The second quarter is what you dream about from a defensive stand point" Williams said. "The rim protection with Greg (Stiemsma) and A.D. was unreal. "Greg's ability to come into the game and give us what he did after not playing in the last game was huge. And A.D. was stellar."

The Pelicans reversed their early start by taking advantage inside, especially since Cavaliers' center Anderson Varejao did not play due to a knee injury. Varejao hyperextended and bruised his left knee in Sunday's loss to the Suns. Tyler Zeller replaced him in the lineup and had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The Pelicans' scored, but they also stepped up on defense, especially Davis. He had six blocks in the first half; and seven in the Pelicans' previous home game.

"We just played defense," explained Davis about the two different quarters. "We're a defensive team and we can't allow 29 points in a quarter. We defended, made transition buckets by running the floor."

The Pelicans shot an incredible 63.2 percent from the field in the second quarter and outscored the Cavaliers 30-15. The Cavaliers shot 5-of-20 from the field in the quarter.

The Pelicans kept up the pace and extended the lead to 22 in the third. The Cavaliers never had an answer for Davis who had 11 points and was 4-5 from the field in the quarter.

"You have to use his talents," said guard Eric Gordon about Davis. "His talents are catching and shooting and putting the ball on the floor and isolations. He's going to keep expanding his game."

It wasn't even close when it came to the battle between the last two No. 1 overall picks in Davis and Anthony Bennett, but Bennett finished with a season high in points (15) and (31) minutes played.

The Cavaliers (16-29) have lost two straight and four of their last five.