Temple, Jones rally Pelicans past Cavaliers after Rubio hurt

New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas (17) blocks a shot attempt by Cleveland Cavaliers...
New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas (17) blocks a shot attempt by Cleveland Cavaliers forward Lauri Markkanen (24) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021.(AP Photo/Derick Hingle)
Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 10:21 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Garrett Temple nailed four 3-pointers in a 3:50 span of the fourth quarter and rookie Herb Jones scored a career-high 26 points to lift the New Orleans Pelicans to a 108-104 comeback victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.

The Cavaliers led by as many as 23 points in the first quarter but could not ward off a strong three quarters by the Pelicans.

Ricky Rubio had 27 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists for Cleveland before injuring his left knee on a non-contact stop in the lane with 2:20 left. Rubio had to be carried off the court by teammates.

Trailing 95-83, the Pelicans used a 10-0 run in a 2:18 span, with a pair of 3-pointers by Temple, to move within 95-93 with 4:44 left. Temple, who finished with 17 points, added two more long-range jumpers to complete the comeback.

Jonas Valanciunas made four free throws in the final 28.7 seconds to seal the victory.

Rubio had 10 of the Cavaliers’ first 18 points as Cleveland cruised to an 18-4 lead. Kevin Love added three from long range within a 63-second span to extend the Cavs’ lead to 27-8 in the first 8:14.

In building a 39-20 first-quarter lead, Cleveland made 9-of-12 3-pointers, with Love making all four for 12 points.

The Cavs’ perimeter shooting went ice cold in the second quarter — Cleveland missed all 10 3-pointers — allowing the Pelicans to trim the deficit to 58-48 at halftime. Jones, normally a defensive specialist, led all scorers with 17 first-half points.

The Cavs led 80-68 late in the third quarter but New Orleans closed to 83-76.


Cavaliers: C Jarrett Allen and G Darius Garland, averaging 19 points and 7 assists this season, sat out due to COVID-19 protocols. Rubio started at the point. “We’ve said it all along that Ricky Rubio is a )starting point guard on a good team in the NBA, so there’s no hesitation to put the ball in his hands,” said coach J.B. Bickerstaff. … Rookie F Evan Mobley arrived in New Orleans at noon and cleared health and safety protocols.

Pelicans: F Brandon Ingram (left Achilles soreness) and G Josh Hart (left ankle sprain) were sidelined. … Valanciunas, who missed the last two game, returned from a non-COVID illness.


Cavaliers: At Washington on Thursday night.

Pelicans: Have a three-day break before traveling to Milwaukee to face the Bucks on Saturday.

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