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Davis swats eight shots as Pelicans trip Cavs

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CLEVELAND — If forward Anthony Davis isn’t selected a reserve for the Western Conference All-Star Game on Thursday, the New Orleans Pelicans think there should be an investigation.

They won’t get any argument from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Davis finished with 30 points, seven rebounds and eight blocks — one off his NBA-high mark this season — in the Pelicans’ 100-89 victory over the Cavaliers on Tuesday before 13,985 at Quicken Loans Arena.

“Everyone keeps talking about (the All-Star Game) and should he be an All-Star,” New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. “I mean, all you have to do is look at tonight. Show me other bigs who are doing it on both ends like he does every single night.

“I’m really thankful I have a chance to coach someone like him.”

The 6-foot-10, 220-pounder dislocated his left index finger during the game. That didn’t stop him.

“He said, ‘Tape it up, I’m going right back,'” Williams said.

Davis, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft from Kentucky, converted 12 of 18 shots from the field.

“He’s a very talented individual,” Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving said. “He plays the game the right way.”

Shooting guard Eric Gordon added 20 points, seven rebounds and a game-high nine assists for the Pelicans (19-25), who earned their third win in a row.

Irving finished with 23 points and five assists to pace the Cavaliers (16-29). Cleveland lost for the fourth time in five games.

Asked about coach Mike Brown, Irving said, “Are we tuning him out? I’ll leave my trust in Coach Brown. Whatever he needs me to do, I’ll do.”

Irving said he is confident the Cavaliers will turn things around.

“We’re all in this together,” he said. “I have my teammates’ backs and they have mine.”

Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters came off the bench to contribute 21 points and four assists.

Cleveland forward Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft, added a career-high 15 points and eight rebounds in 30 minutes.

Brown said that might equate to another close look at Bennett moving forward.

The Cavaliers were playing without center Anderson Varejao, who has a hyperextended left knee. His absence opened up some minutes for Bennett.

“I’ve made huge steps with my shooting, putting more arc on my shot instead of shooting flat,” Bennett said. “I just have to keep working in the gym. Hopefully, things will turn around from this point.”

Brown moaned about the Cavaliers’ lack of effort. He said they played harder in a scrimmage in practice on Monday than they did against the Pelicans.

“When we don’t play hard in spurts, it equates to losses,” he said. “We didn’t get mad at anyone. We don’t have fiery, in-your-face guys.”

Brown is hinting at changes.

“Maybe I have to shake some things up,” he said. “What we’re doing out there, it’s unacceptable. It’s not good enough.”

In the other locker room, the Pelicans are fired up about getting Davis to the All-Star Game, but he said he tries not to think about it.

“It’s cool,” he said. “I hear it, but I’m trying to win a game. I’m just trying to get better each and every day. If it happens, I’ll be more than grateful and more than excited to be able to play.”

NOTES: C Anderson Varejao, the Cavaliers’ leading rebounder, was out with an hyperextended left knee. He was fitted with a brace after he suffered a knee contusion in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s home game against the Phoenix Suns. Tyler Zeller started at center against the Pelicans, and he scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. … Cleveland G Carrick Felix is sidelined for the next six to eight weeks with a stress fracture of his left kneecap. … The Pelicans were missing three key performers: G Jrue Holiday (leg), F Ryan Anderson (neck) and C Jason Smith (knee).