Behind the Numbers presented by HUB International: Pelicans at Bulls (11/4/17)

by Jim Eichenhofer

A look at three key numbers related to Saturday’s game at the United Center between New Orleans and Chicago (7 p.m., Fox Sports New Orleans, WRNO 99.5 FM):

925: Miles between the cities of Dallas and Chicago, a distance the Pelicans (4-5) traveled by air late Friday for their first back-to-back of the regular season. The Bulls (2-5) are still not at much of an advantage tonight despite homecourt advantage, because they also will be playing their initial back-to-back of 2017-18. Chicago won easily at Orlando, 105-83, on Friday, then got on a plane and journeyed the 1,100 miles from Central Florida to the Windy City. The back-to-back set will be a first in the professional ranks for Bulls leading scorer Lauri Markkanen, a rookie lottery pick from the University of Arizona. The Pelicans do not have any rookies in their current playing rotation.

31.9: Combined points per game by Chicago’s two top scorers, Markkanen and Justin Holiday. New Orleans receives similar offensive production from both DeMarcus Cousins (29.0 points per game) and Anthony Davis (27.5) by themselves. Incidentally, the Bulls’ second-leading scorer and the Pelicans’ third-best point producer are brothers – Justin Holiday is the older sibling of Jrue Holiday (13.9 ppg).

38: Point differential between Chicago’s matchup Friday vs. Orlando (a 22-point win for the Bulls), compared to New Orleans’ Monday meeting with the same Magic club (a 16-point loss for the Pelicans). Chicago may be off to a poor start record-wise, but New Orleans needs to be ready to play Saturday, particularly after having a much worse result this week against a common opponent. The Bulls received double-digit scoring from seven different players in their win at Orlando (led by Justin Holiday’s 19 points), while the Pelicans only had one player tally more than a dozen points vs. the Magic (Davis poured in 39; next-best was Cousins with 12).