NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Pelicans weren’t concerned when the Cavaliers went 8-for-8 from beyond the arc to build a 13-point first-quarter lead.
“It’s like the stock market,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “At some point, there has to be an adjustment.”
New Orleans pounced when the Cavaliers cooled. Anthony Davis had 38 points and 13 rebounds, and the Pelicans came alive in the second half to beat Cleveland 140-126 Wednesday night.
The Cavs hit just 8 of 22 3-pointers in the final three quarters, while New Orleans scored 41 points in the third quarter and 40 in the fourth for a runaway victory. Davis had 18 points in the third quarter alone.
“Obviously if you have back to back 40-point quarters, your offense is working pretty well,” Gentry said.
In the second half, the Pelicans shot 67.6 percent (25-of-37) from the floor, 38.5 percent (5-of-13) on 3-pointers and 96.3 percent (26-of-27) on free throws.
The Cavaliers lost their 11th in a row. They built a 16-point second-quarter lead before cooling off and letting the Pelicans finish the second quarter on a 12-2 run.
“We made a push before halftime,” guard Jrue Holiday said, “and we broke it open after that.”
Four other Pelicans scored in double figures as Frank Jackson scored 19, Holiday added 18 and Nikola Mirotic and Julius Randle had 17 each.
The Pelicans won their third straight game for the first time since Nov. 16-19.
All 10 Pelicans who played scored, and the team shot well throughout.
“I thought we did some good things in spurts, but we didn’t sustain,” Cavaliers coach Larry Drew said. “We just have to buckle down and try to put four solid quarters together, which we haven’t been able to do.”
Cleveland’s bench outscored the starters. Jordan Clarkson led the reserves with 21 points, Matthew Dellavedova had 17, Cameron Payne had 16 and Ante Zizic had 10 as the group totaled 75 points. Alec Burks led the starters with 17 points, and Collin Sexton added 13.
“The problem tonight was not the offense,” Drew said. “It was the defense.”
Cavaliers: F Larry Nance Jr. did not play because of an injury to his right knee that he suffered a night earlier in a game against Indiana. ... The Cavaliers allowed a season-high in points five days after the Pelicans handed them their most lopsided loss of the season, 133-98 in Cleveland.
Pelicans: F Nikola Mirotic returned after a 12-game absence due to an ankle injury. ...The Pelicans’ 41 points in the third quarter tied a season high for points in a period. ... Davis made 12 of 13 free throws in the third quarter, setting a franchise record for both attempts and makes in a quarter.
Rookie coming on
Jackson had a season high in points for the second consecutive game. He had 17 in a 114-95 victory against Memphis on Monday night.
“He has a gift,” Holiday said. “He’s so athletic and so fast in getting to the basket. He’s aggressive, and he’s a mutant with the way he can jump.”
Cavaliers: Cleveland visits Houston tonight.
Pelicans: New Orleans visits Minnesota on Saturday.