Cavaliers Lose to Pelicans 123-104: Game Recap 12/21/23

December 21, 2023

Andy Billman

Post-Game Recap

3 Key Factors Around the Victory

1 – Back-to-back

The Cavaliers were coming in tonight on a back-to-back just playing the Jazz on Wednesday, and it showed.  Cleveland had a hard time on the defensive end, giving up 123 points, with New Orleans shooting 54.7% from the floor. 

2 – Mitchell and MerrillĀ 

Donovan Mitchell was again out with an illness, and early in the 2nd quarter, Sam Merrill had an early exit with right wrist soreness.

3 – Wade

On the positive side, Dean Wade had a big night offensively, scoring 20 points, including six out of eight from deep. 

Game Summary

In lieu of the ailing Zion Williamson, Trey Murphy III stepped up, contributing 28 points as a starter, propelling the New Orleans Pelicans to a 123-104 victory over the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night. Williamson, sidelined by illness, didn’t accompany the Pelicans due to a team-wide flu outbreak. Murphy, making his first start of the season, compensated for Williamson’s absence with six successful 3-pointers, aiding the Pelicans in their fifth win in six games.

CJ McCollum posted 18 points, and Brandon Ingram added 17 for the Pelicans. Despite the Cavaliers missing their top scorers, Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, and Evan Mobley, who were out due to illness, jaw fracture, and knee surgery, respectively, Cleveland managed a 3-1 record on a recent four-game homestand.

New Orleans dominated the third quarter, closing it with a 14-0 run to secure a 94-76 lead. The Pelicans extended their advantage to 24 points in the fourth quarter. Although the Cavs narrowed the gap to 80-76 in the third, the Pelicans responded with a decisive 14-0 run, primarily scoring on layups or in transition.

Trey Murphy III showcased his shooting prowess late in the second quarter, sinking three 3-pointers, including one from 36 feet, as the Pelicans established a 66-52 halftime lead. Cavaliers guard Sam Merrill, coming off a career-high 27 points in the previous game, was held scoreless in 12 minutes due to a wrist issue added to the injury report earlier in the day.

Undrafted rookie Craig Porter Jr. delivered a season-high 11 assists for the Cavaliers in the game.

Up Next

At Chicago on Saturday night.

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