Not even a Tyronn Lue technical could save the Cavaliers.
If Lue is being honest, and we have no reason to believe otherwise, then his T in Monday's 124-122 loss at New Orleans was the first of his career.
Actually, Lue never said that -- but he did say the one he received last year was by mistake. He accidentally walked outside the allotted area for coaches to instruct players. He wasn't even yelling toward an official. "I just didn't know the rules," he said at the time.
But this technical was different. Lue got it in the first half, his Cavaliers team sleepwalking and watching the Anthony Davis-less Pelicans march to a 70-50 advantage at the intermission.
Yes, the Pelicans scored 70 points in the first half. No, the Cavs didn't look all that interested until it was much too late.
Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers (30-13) with a remarkable 49-point performance. He was among the few (perhaps the only) who played inspired basketball from opening tip.
LeBron James added 26 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, and Kevin Love went for 22 points and 16 boards. But neither James nor Love seemed engaged for all 48 minutes. Worse, center Tristan Thompson (two points, seven rebounds) was a basic no-show.
Meanwhile, Pelicans forward Terrence Jones filled in for Davis and put together the performance of a lifetime -- scoring 36 points and making Cavs defenders look silly along the way.
Jrue Holiday added 33 points for the Pelicans (18-27), very much in the playoff race after a terrible start.
James committed six turnovers and played 44 minutes. Cavs reserve DeAndre Liggins was a minus-14 in eight minutes.
The Pelicans shot 61 percent from the floor in the first half. They improved to 2-2 minus Davis, an All-Star starter for the Western Conference.