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Pelicans dig out of 23-point hole, defeat Cavaliers

Dec 28, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  New Orleans Pelicans guard Tomas Satoransky (31) knocks the ball away from Cleveland Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio (3) during the first half  at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Herbert Jones scored a season-high 26 points and Garrett Temple scored all 17 of his points in the fourth quarter as the host New Orleans Pelicans rallied to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-104 Tuesday night.

Devonte’ Graham scored 18 points, Jonas Valanciunas returned from a two-game absence due to a non-COVID illness to get 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Gary Clark added 12 points for the Pelicans, who won for the fifth time in six games despite trailing by as many as 23 points late in the first quarter.

Ricky Rubio had 27 points and 13 rebounds, Kevin Love scored 24 points, Evan Mobley had 22 points and seven rebounds, and Lauri Markkanen netted 14 points to lead the Cavaliers.

Markkanen scored the first four points of the fourth quarter, and a 3-pointer by Love pushed Cleveland’s lead to 90-78.

Temple made two 3-pointers during a 10-0 run that got New Orleans within 95-93.

Mobley made two free throws, but Temple answered with two more 3-pointers to give the Pelicans their first lead at 99-97 with 3:18 left.

Graham added a 3-pointer to push the lead to five points with 1:30 left.

Isaac Okoro made one of two free throws and Love hit another 3-pointer to end a 7 1/2-minute field goal drought for the Cavaliers and get them within 102-101 with 46 seconds left.

Valanciunas made two free throws, Mobley missed a 3-pointer, and Valanciunas made two more free throws with 4.8 seconds left.

Love made a 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left before Graham hit two free throws.

The Cavaliers scored the first four points of the third quarter to take a 14-point lead.

Graham scored nine points to help the Pelicans pull within 83-76 at the end of the third quarter. They outscored Cleveland 32-21 in the fourth quarter.

Both teams played without their leading scorers.

Cavaliers guard Darius Garland entered the NBA health and safety protocols as did leading rebounder Jarrett Allen.

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram was sidelined by Achilles soreness that knocked him out of a 117-112 loss at Oklahoma City on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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