Tune-In Tidbits: ESPN Friday, May 14, 2021
Get ready for Friday's ESPN game between the Pelicans and Warriors with five key stats to know about the matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
Pelicans (31-39) at Warriors (37-33)
• The Warriors and Pelicans split the first two games of the season series, a two-game set in New Orleans on May 3-4. Stephen Curry has averaged 39 points against the Pelicans and attempted more field goals (28.5 per game) and 3-pointers (19.0 per game) than he has against any other team this season. Zion Williamson led the Pelicans with 27.5 ppg against Golden State, but he will miss his fifth straight game with a fractured finger.
• The Warriors enter Friday on a four-game win streak with every win crucial to their hopes of finishing with the No. 8 seed in the State Farm Play-In Tournament (thus having to win just one game to secure a playoff berth). The Warriors are tied with the Grizzlies, who have also won four straight; while their season series is tied 1-1, Golden State currently holds the tiebreaker by having a superior conference record. However, the Warriors and Grizzlies meet on the final day of the regular season to determine the head-to-head tiebreaker and the final seedings in the Play-In Tournament — the winner of that game gets No. 8, the loser gets No. 9.
• Stephen Curry (31.76 ppg) enters Friday with a 0.35 points per game lead over Bradley Beal (31.41 ppg) in the race for the 2020-21 scoring title. Beal has missed Washington’s last two games with a hamstring injury. If Beal is unable to return, Curry would need to score a total of 42 points over Golden State’s final two games to finish ahead of Beal and claim his second scoring title. Scoring 42 points would bring Curry’s season total to 2,011, which over 64 games played would give him an average of 31.42 ppg.
• Williamson has been ruled out for Friday and with the Pelicans eliminated from Play-In Tournament contention, it is unlikely Zion will play in Sunday’s regular season finale and risk further injury to his broken finger. If his sophomore season is over, it will go down in the history books. Williamson ranks ninth in scoring (27.0 ppg) and seventh in field goal percentage (61.1%); that would be the highest scoring average in NBA history for a player shooting over 60% over the course of a season. The only other player to average at least 25 points and 60% shooting for a season was Kevin McHale in 1986-87 (26.1 PPG, 60.4 FG%); Williamson will top both of those marks.
• Stephen Curry and James Harden are the only players in NBA history to make at least 300 3-pointers in a single season. Curry has now accomplished the feat four times: 2015-16 (402 3-pointers in 79 games), 2016-17 (324 3-pointers in 79 games), 2018-19 (354 3-pointers in 69 games) and 2020-21 (328 in 62 games played). Curry already has the fourth-most 3-pointers made in any season in NBA history in just 62 games. His 5.3 3-pointers made per game is the highest mark ever and 1.2 more than any other player this season (Damian Lillard section at 4.1).