Cleveland Cavaliers – 90
New Orleans Pelicans – 82
With Kyrie Irving resting a sore hamstring, the Cavaliers were looking for someone else to heat up. Little did they know, second-round draft pick Kay Felder would provide the firepower needed to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 90-82 on Monday night. The Cavaliers shot 38 percent from the field and only 19 percent from three point range, but Felder got hot at the right time, scoring eight points in the fourth quarter to help secure the victory for the Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers’ offense was a mess, with Irving out, Kevin Love battling illness on his way to a 5 of 19 shooting night, and not a single Cavaliers starter making a three pointer. Luckily for them, even on an off shooting night, LeBron James is good enough to keep them in the game. James appeared frustrated in the first half as the team missed open looks and he battled turnovers, but he turned it on in the fourth quarter, scoring ten of his 26 points. Richard Jefferson had a similar night, struggling most of the game before coming up with some key plays in the fourth to help guide the team to victory. James Jones even saw a rare appearance, giving the Cavaliers a spark with a made three, assist, and a hilarious block of Terrence Jones.
But it was Felder’s night that will get the press. He looked in command with the ball in his hands and finally showed the ability to finish over taller defenders. The second-round rookie has struggled for most of the season, trying to keep up with a championship run pace. As the Cavaliers desperately look for back-up point guards, Felder growing into the role would be a massive development. Of course, Jordan McRae, who got the start for Irving, had a similarly exciting game against Charlotte on Saturday before going one for five in this contest. Young players are likely to have ups and downs, but we’ve seen very few ups from the young players so far this season.
Let’s look behind the box score at the Cavs of late:
26 – Iman Shumpert’s three point percentage over his last ten games. He started the season on fire from deep, and he’s still at 39 percent for the year, but his stroke from beyond the arc may have been a mirage.
1 – Three pointer for Richard Jefferson after not making one since December 21st. Gotta start somewhere.
10 – Pounds lost by Kevin Love during his bout with food poisoning. As the depth continues to be an issue and guys are forced to play big minutes, let’s hope Love is able to get some extra time and the fatigue doesn’t catch up with him.
24-6 – The Cavaliers’ record when LeBron James plays.
14 – LeBron’s all time place in the NBA’s all-time made field goals list, passing Dominique Wilkins tonight.
The Chicago Bulls come to Cleveland on Wednesday. We’ll see if Love or Kyrie are able to make their way back into the starting unit, or if we’ll be seeing one of the young guys get a chance again. Of course, those might not be the only two to worry about: