LeBron Leads Short Handed Cavs To Victory Over Pelicans

By Mark Dan, Posted: 01/03/17 08:21PM EST

 A short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers rallied behind LeBron James' team-high 26 points to beat the gritty New Orleans Pelicans 90-82 on Monday night. The Cavs' were missing the services of Kyrie Irving who was out for his second straight game due to tightness in his right hamstring. He suffered the injury during the game against the Boston Celtics last Thursday, which the defending champs also won 124-118.

The New Orleans Pelicans were led by all-star center Anthony Davis with a superb 20 point-17 rebound performance and were coming into the contest on a four-game winning streak, but it came to an end at the hands of an ailing Cavs team, plagued by injuries. Pelicans rookie Buddy Hield had a stellar game and contributed 20 points for New Orleans, but his team shot a season-worst 36.7 percent from the field.

The Cavaliers rallied from a 10-point deficit in the third quarter to pull off the win. Kevin Love, who was also questionable before the game, because of food poisoning, scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in just 24 minutes of action. Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue commended Love for playing through with illness and contributing solid numbers to help the team win, according to Yahoo Sports.

Coach Lue added that Kevin Love lost almost 10 pounds because of his illness, but had to play through it, and his presence on the court was a major factor for the win. Channing Frye added 14 points off the bench for the Cavs, and rookie Kay Felder added 12, he scored eight crucial points in the fourth quarter, and was a key contributor in the Cavs' victory. The defending NBA champs have won 13 of their last 15 games and still lead the Eastern Conference, in a report by nba.com.

Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry noted that his team lost aggressiveness on the court and were not able to execute well down the stretch. New Orleans had a chance to pull off an upset over the defending NBA champions, but let it slip away in the end. The Cavs also struggled throughout the game and only connected for a dismal 37.8 from the field.

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