Tune-In Tidbits: TNT Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021
Get ready for Tuesday's TNT doubleheader with five key stats to know about each matchup.
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
Pelicans (11-15) at Grizzlies (11-11)
• The Pelicans won the first meeting of the season with the Grizzlies, 118-109 on Feb. 6, behind 20-point performances by Zion Williamson (29), Brandon Ingram (27) and Eric Bledsoe (21), with Bledsoe scoring 11 of his 21 in the fourth to help the Pelicans pull away. The Pelicans rank fifth in the league in fourth-quarter scoring (27.7 ppg) while Memphis ranks 24th (26.1 ppg).
• Xavier Tillman was the primary defender on Zion Williamson for a team-high 6:00 (52.4% of Zion’s offensive matchup time) and held Zion to nine points on 3-for-7 shooting from the field and 3-for-4 from the free throw line. In 1:23 of matchup time (12.1%) against Jonas Valanaciunas, Zion scored eight points on 4-for-4 shooting.
• This will the fourth meeting between Zion Williamson and Ja Morant since the former AAU teammates were selected No. 1 and 2 overall, respectively, in the 2019 NBA Draft. Williamson is 3-0 against Morant, and has averaged 25.3 ppg on 56% shooting while adding 5.7 rpg and 4.3 apg in three games against the Grizzlies. Morant has averaged 14.8 ppg and 7.3 apg, while shooting 36.1% from the field and 20% from 3-point range in four games against the Pelicans.
• The Grizzlies (53.7 ppg) and Pelicans (50.4 ppg) rank second and sixth, respectively, in points in the paint so far this season. Williamson averages a league-high 18.4 ppg, which is 1.8 more than any other player in the league and 7.0 more than Memphis’ leading paint scorer Valanciunas (11.4 ppg, 13th in NBA).
Brooklyn (17-12) at Phoenix (17-9)
• In addition to leading the NBA in scoring (121.4 ppg), the Nets rank first in field goal percentage (50%), second in 3-point percentage (40.4%) and fifth in free throw percentage (82.1%). Brooklyn’s 62.1% true shooting percentage is on pace to be the highest ever recorded. The only other teams with a TS% greater than 60% are the 2020-21 Clippers (60.9%) and the 2017-18 Warriors (60.3%).
• The Suns enter Tuesday’s game on a six-game win streak — their longest win streak since winning all eight of their games in the bubble during the 2019-20 season restart. During this streak, Devin Booker has averaged 28.3 ppg on 54.7% shooting from the field and 43.8% on 3-pointers, while adding 5.7 apg and 4.8 rpg per game.
• The Nets are coming off a 136-125 win in Sacramento on Monday in the first game of their seventh back-to-back of the season. The Nets are 3-3 on the second night of a back-to-back so far this season; they are averaging 112.8 ppg, down nearly nine points from their season average.
• The Nets will once again be without Kevin Durant, but have fared well with two of their three stars on the court as they showed last night in Sacramento. This season, the Nets have outscored opponents by 17 points in 146 minutes with Kyrie Irving and James Harden on the court without Durant and have been outscored by 17 points in 45 minutes with all three off the court.
• The Suns’ defense ranks fourth in points allowed (107.2 ppg), holding teams to 34.7% shooting on 3-pointers on 31.3 attempts per game (fourth and second in the league, respectively). They also protect the paint, only giving up 45.6 ppg in the lane (10th in the NBA for fewest allowed). Their defensive strengths pair nicely with Brooklyn’s offensive strengths (first in scoring, fifth in 3-pointers made and ninth in points in the paint).