A former University of Kentucky star led the New Orleans Pelicans to a surprise 124-122 victory over the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.
An even bigger surprise: It was Terrence Jones, and not four-time NBA All-Star Anthony Davis, that played the starring role for the Pelicans.
Davis, who is averaging 28.6 points, 12 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots per game, was sidelined by a right quad contusion that he suffered during New Orleans’ loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.
Jones started at center in Davis’ place and tied a career high with 36 points to go with 11 rebounds, one assist, two steals and three blocks. He was 13-for-18 from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, and was 7-for-10 at the foul line.
Jrue Holiday added 33 points and 10 assists while the Pelicans had to overcome huge performances from the Cavaliers big stars.
Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers in scoring with 49 points, LeBron James added his fourth triple-double of the season — 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists —and Kevin Love had 22 points, 16 rebounds and six assists.
Irving was 8-for-14 from three-point range. James, who had six turnovers, had a late dunk attempt rejected by Jones.
DeAndre Liggins had one rebound and one steal in seven minutes for Cleveland.