Brandon Ingram dishes to Willy Hernangomez at Minnesota

Behind the Numbers presented by Entergy: Warriors at Pelicans (5/3/21)

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

A look at three key numbers related to Monday’s game at the Smoothie King Center between Golden State and New Orleans (6:30 p.m. Central, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Radio New Orleans 100.3 FM):

11-4: New Orleans record in 2020-21 when it hands out 30-plus assists, which was the case again Saturday, as the Pelicans needed all 34 of their dimes to hold off a pesky Minnesota club en route to a 140-136 overtime victory. Oddly, nine of the 15 instances of 30 or more assists have occurred on the road for New Orleans, which has a better record in the Smoothie King Center (17-16) than in away games (12-19). Golden State is the NBA’s No. 1 team in assists, averaging 27.5 per game. When the Warriors dish out 30-plus assists, they are a gaudy 20-3. When Golden State has 25 or fewer assists, the team’s record drops to 7-19.

28.4: Basketball Reference “game score” for Lonzo Ball in Saturday’s victory at Minnesota, the highest of his NBA career over 212 total appearances. Game score is a metric created by John Hollinger (now with The Athletic) that takes into account various statistical categories to determine one number gauging the impact of a player in each game. On Saturday, Ball tallied a career-best 33 points, tied his individual high by sinking eight three-pointers, while also posting 11 rebounds, eight assists and three steals against the Timberwolves. New Orleans is 13-8 this season when Ball scores 16 or more points, but 8-21 when he plays and scores 15 points or less.

553: Days since New Orleans faced Stephen Curry in a regular season game. With Monday’s matchup marking the first of the 2020-21 season between the Pelicans and Warriors, Curry last played against New Orleans on Oct. 28, 2019, when he scored 26 points and dished out 11 assists in a road win at the Smoothie King Center. New Orleans fans are rather familiar with the exploits of arguably the greatest shooter in NBA history – the Pelicans faced him twice in recent postseasons (2015 and 2018) and the Davidson product broke the all-time record by draining 13 three-pointers in 2016 vs. NOLA. That mark was surpassed by teammate Klay Thompson, who knocked down 14 at Chicago in 2018.

PREVIOUS GAME STARTING LINEUPS

GOLDEN STATE (32-32, 9TH IN WEST)

Saturday win at Houston

Stephen Curry, Kent Bazemore, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney

Notes: This group is 5-4, representing nine of Bazemore’s 10 starts this season. … On Sunday’s official injury report, Wiggins (right knee soreness) was listed as questionable. Kelly Oubre Jr., Eric Paschall, James Wiseman and Thompson have all been listed as out, while Damion Lee hasn’t played in a game since April 19, now sidelined due to health and safety protocols. … The Warriors have used 15 different starting lineups. The most successful is 8-5 and features Curry, Wiggins, Green, Looney and Oubre.

NEW ORLEANS (29-35, 11TH IN WEST)

Saturday win at Minnesota

Lonzo Ball, Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, Willy Hernangomez

Notes: This group is 4-1, representing all of Hernangomez’s starts this season. … On Sunday’s official injury report, Adams (57 starts this season) was listed as questionable. Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Didi Louzada are all out. … The Pelicans have used 13 different starting lineups. The most successful is 5-1 and consists of Bledsoe, Ingram, Williamson, Adams and Alexander-Walker.

PELICANS KEYS TO VICTORY PRESENTED BY FANDUEL

CONTROL THE BOARDS

On paper, if there is one area New Orleans needs to dominate Monday, it’s rebounding. The Pelicans lead the NBA in rebounding percentage (52.9), while the Warriors are third-worst in that category (47.7), ahead of only Houston (47.5) and Indiana (47.4).

MINIMIZE MISTAKES

New Orleans got away with committing 21 turnovers Saturday in Minneapolis, partly because the Pelicans had zero in overtime. They can’t afford a repeat of that against the Warriors, who rank 13th in average points scored off turnovers (17.2).

SEIZE THE MOMENT

Three Pelicans starters (Ball, Ingram, Williamson) have yet to appear in the NBA postseason, making this Golden State miniseries near the top of the list for most important games of their brief careers. The same is true for numerous New Orleans reserves in their rookie or second seasons.

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