Behind the Numbers presented by HUB International: Hornets at Pelicans (4/3/19)
A look at three key numbers related to Wednesday’s game at the Smoothie King Center between Charlotte and New Orleans (7 p.m. Central, Fox Sports New Orleans, WRNO 99.5 FM):
13, 20: Rank among all NBA players since the All-Star break in scoring average for Charlotte guard Kemba Walker and New Orleans forward/center Julius Randle, who both have enjoyed the best offensive seasons of their careers. Walker is averaging 26.1 points since his franchise hosted the All-Star Game in mid-February, essentially tied with the Oklahoma City duo of Paul George and Russell Westbrook, while Randle is at 23.8 ppg, including numerous recent big nights on the offensive end. Since the All-Star break, Randle has five games of 30-plus points. On the season, Randle is averaging 21.1 points, the first time in his five-year NBA career that he has surpassed the 20-point plateau. A three-time All-Star selection, Walker has managed to establish a career-best scoring average of 25.2 points, highlighted by a career-high six games of 40-plus points. Walker has drained 243 three-pointers during the 2018-19 season, which is tied for Charlotte’s franchise record with Jason Richardson, meaning Walker’s next trey will set the new Hornets single-season standard.
45: Total games played in the G League this season by New Orleans’ Christian Wood and Charlotte’s Dwayne Bacon, a pair of players to watch over the final week of ’18-19, as well as potentially in the future. Wood, 23, put up some eye-popping numbers for the Wisconsin Herd this season, averaging 29.3 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.2 blocks, while Bacon, 23, averaged 22.2 points and 7.0 rebounds for the Greensboro Swarm. Despite playing extremely sparingly for much of the ’18-19 NBA season, Bacon recently compiled four consecutive 20-point games, helping spark the Hornets to impressive victories over Toronto and San Antonio. Meanwhile, Wood has only played in four games for the Pelicans, but already has gone for 20-plus points vs. Atlanta and Sacramento.
23, 27: Ranking among the 30 NBA teams in winning percentage during “clutch games” (as defined by NBA.com) for Charlotte and New Orleans, respectively. If Wednesday’s matchup is close on the scoreboard during the final five minutes of the fourth quarter, something has to give between the Hornets and Pelicans, who have notched records of 15-21 and 16-26 in clutch time, with the latter representing a 38.1 percent success rate. Despite Charlotte struggling late in close games, Walker is second in total clutch points among all NBA players, with 159 (James Harden has tallied 187). Randle leads New Orleans with 70 clutch points, shooting 55.8 percent from the field.