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LeBron's triple-double leads Cavs past Pelicans

TOM WITHERS

AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - LeBron James recorded a triple-double with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists and Kyrie Irving scored 27 of his 32 in the second half, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 118-111 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night.

Kevin Love added 22 points for the Cavs, who played just their second home game this season.

James and Irving dominated in the second half, combining for 46 points - 30 in the third quarter when the Cavs overcame 9-point deficit. Love, too, was huge after halftime, making four 3-pointers.

Anthony Davis scored 27 with 14 rebounds for the Pelicans, who beat defending NBA champion San Antonio on Saturday night and gave the Cavaliers all they could handle. Ryan Anderson added 32 - 23 in the first half for New Orleans.

Irving's 3-pointer gave the Cavs a 101-95 lead, but the Pelicans didn't go away and were within three when Love drained one of his six 3-pointers. Irving scored on a conventional three-point play and then hit another long-range shot to give Cleveland a 110-98 lead with 2:26 left. James was taken out to a rousing ovation, but coach David Blatt had to re-insert the superstar in the closing seconds after Anderson's 3 brought the Pelicans within 117-111 with 13.9 seconds left.

The Cavs were playing their first home game since their emotional season opener, when James had eight turnovers and couldn't match the monumental event. Cleveland just returned from a four-game road trip, which had its share of drama as James challenged his young teammates following a loss in Portland.

But in their first game back, the Cavs "Big 3" showed why they've been pegged as title favorites.

The Pelicans led 78-69 when Irving scored nine straight, capping his solo mission with a 3-pointer to tie it. James made three free throws in the final minute and capped the quarter with one of those thunderous dunks only he can deliver to give the Cavs an 85-79 lead after three.

Anderson, who has been coming off the bench all season, made 7 of his first 8 shots, helping the Pelicans build a 12-point lead.

He was getting open looks, but he also knocked down some contested attempts, and at open point Anderson was outscoring the James-Irving-Love triumvirate 23-18.

Travel issues prevented the Pelicans from arriving until nearly 3 a.m. The team was scheduled to leave at 4 p.m. on Sunday, but a mechanical problem with their plane caused a long delay and a new pilot and crew had to be flown in from Minnesota, delaying the flight by six hours.

"It was actually a good thing for us," coach Monty Williams said. "We had Internet on the plane. We watched games and did our work. It could have been a lot worse."

TIP INS

Pelicans: Davis came in leading the league in rebounds (12.8), blocks (4.4), steals (2.2) and was fifth in scoring (24.4). "He's one of the elite players," said James, who played with Davis on the U.S. Olympic team in 2012. James said Davis has a unique game. "It doesn't compare to anybody," he said. ... Williams had a quick response when asked who would cover James. "Our whole team," he said.

Cavaliers: G Dion Waiters sat out with a bruised lower back, an injury he sustained Friday when he was fouled on a layup by Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur, who was suspended one game. It's not known how long Waiters will be sidelined. ... Rookie G Joe Harris made his first career 3-pointer in the first half. ... Cleveland plays eight of its next 10 games at home.

UP NEXT

Pelicans: Host Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

Cavaliers: At Boston on Friday.

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