UPCOMING MILESTONES: With three steals, LeBron James will have 1,700 in his career, and with one three-pointer, he reaches 1,400. In addition, with a single field goal, LeBron James moves into 14th in all-time career shots made. With one three-pointer, Richard Jefferson accumulates 1,000 in his career. Kevin Love needs three more three-pointers to make the eighth most in franchise history – passing J.R. Smith.
To kick off the new year, the Cleveland Cavaliers welcome the visiting New Orleans Pelicans in their first game of 2017. The Pelicans are currently 14-21 after losing their first eight games of the season, and are actually on a current four-game winning streak – most recently they beat the New York Knicks 104-92 on Friday. The Cavaliers will be looking to stop that streak while also extending their own to three consecutive wins.
On offense, the Pelicans have relied heavily on bench scoring – they average the fourth most points per game off of the bench with 40.1. In addition, they’ve been very efficient on cutting to the basket, with a fifth highest in the NBA field goal percentage of 49.3% on drives. One other frequent play that the Pelicans will attempt involves utilizing the player setting the pick in a pick-and-roll. Such plays account for 8.5% of all of their possessions – third most in the league.
On defense, the Pelicans are averaging the second most blocks per game with 5.9. In addition, they’ve hold opponents to the fifth lowest field goal percentage. One of their best defense ranges is outside of the restricted area but still within the paint – where they hold teams to the third lowest percentage. Per game, they average the third most defense rebounds – 36.0 – despite getting the second least amount of offense rebounds.
Key players to watch for on the Pelicans will be Anthony Davis – averaging 29.2 points and 11.6 rebounds per game – and Jrue Holiday – averaging 14.6 points and 7.0 assists per game.
Tipoff is set for 7:00 EST and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Ohio.
UPDATE: Kyrie Irving will not play tonight (sore hamstring). Jordan McRae will start in his place.