Tune-In Tidbits: ESPN Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Get ready for Wednesday's ESPN doubleheader with five key stats to know about each matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
Pelicans (22-28) at Nets (35-16)
• The Nets “Big 3” of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden has played just seven game together this season. That number won’t change for at least 10 days as Harden is out with a hamstring strain, while Durant is available to play after suffering a hamstring injury of his own that kept him out seven weeks. This season, the Nets are 5-2 with the “Big 3” together, 16-3 with just Irving and Harden, 3-4 with just Durant and Irving, 2-0 with just Durant and Harden, 8-4 when just one of the Big 3 play, and 1-3 with none of the Big 3 plays.
• Durant will be in the lineup for the first time since Feb. 13. In the 23 games that he’s missed during that time, the Nets went an NBA-best 19-4 while averaging 115.8 ppg and outscoring teams by an average of 5.5 ppg. In Durant’s absence, Kyrie Irving scored a team-best 28.4 points while adding 6.6 assists and 5.3 rebounds. Irving and James Harden were two of only eight players (and the only teammates) to average 25-5-5 during that time.
• New Orleans is coming off a 123-107 loss to Atlanta on Tuesday; this season the Pelicans are 3-6 on the second night of a back-to-back. Zion Williamson has averaged 30.7 ppg on 62.6% shooting while appearing in seven of New Orleans’ nine games on zero days rest.
• With 34 points on 12-for-18 shooting (66.7%) in New Orleans’ loss to Atlanta on Wednesday, Zion Williamson recorded his 25th straight game with at least 20 points while shooting 50% or better, tying Shaquille O’Neal (in 2001) for the longest such streak in the shot-clock era (since 1954-55).
• Brooklyn enters Wednesday ranked sixth in 3-pointers made (14.2 per game) and fourth in 3-point accuracy (39.1%). The Nets’ team 3-point percentage gets a strong boost from Joe Harris, who ranks third in the league in 3-point shooting (48.4%) and fifth in total 3-pointers made (164).
Jazz (38-12) at Suns (35-14)
• With Utah’s nine-game win streak snapped on Monday, the Suns are tied with Denver for the longest active win streak in the league (six straight). During this stretch, Devin Booker has averaged 30.8 points on 51.2%-46.3%-93% shooting splits.
• With 11 dimes in Phoenix’s win over Houston on Monday, Chris Paul became the fifth player in NBA history with 500 career games with double-digit assists, joining John Stockton (863), Magic Johnson (587), Jason Kidd (569), and Steve Nash (509).
• The Jazz lead the NBA with 43.6% of their points coming from 3-pointers. Utah shoots 39.5% from 3-point range (2nd in the NBA) and averages a league-high 17 3-pointers made per game. The Jazz are on pace to average the most 3-pointers made of any team in league history, topping this season’s Portland Trail Blazers (16.2 per game) and the 2018-19 Houston Rockets (16.1 per game).
• While Utah is shooting 3-pointers at a historic pace, the Suns are one of the top teams in defending the 3-point shot. Phoenix holds teams to 34.8% shooting from beyond the arc (fourth-lowest percentage allowed) and just 32.6 3-point attempts per game (ninth-fewest in the league). Both the Suns and Jazz hold their opponents 1.6 percentage points below their normal shooting percentage on 3-point shots.
• The Suns and Jazz are both 11-3 since the All-Star break, tied with Brooklyn and Denver for the top record in the league since the break. The Jazz (117.6) and Suns (117.1) rank second and third, respectively, in scoring in that time, while the Suns rank first in field goal percentage (50.5%), while the Jazz rank 13th (46.8%).