Behind the Numbers presented by HUB International: Pelicans at Heat (12/23/17)

by Jim Eichenhofer

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

3: Number of New Orleans players who are averaging more points per game than anyone on Miami’s roster this season. The Pelicans’ trio of DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday enters Saturday with scoring averages of 26.2, 25.4 and 18.2, respectively, which are all higher than Heat leading scorer Goran Dragic (16.6). However, Miami boasts a more balanced offensive attack than New Orleans, with seven Heat players averaging double digits. Miami guard Tyler Johnson is at 11.0 despite only starting three games out of his 30 appearances; Kelly Olynyk has also mostly come off the bench but is averaging 10.0 points. Among the Pelicans who have not primarily started this season, forward Darius Miller is the team’s top point producer, at 7.6 per game.

8, 12: New Orleans rank in the NBA in offensive efficiency (107.8 points scored per 100 possessions, via and Miami’s rank in defensive efficiency (104.3 points allowed per 100 possessions). Part of the reason these clubs have hovered around .500 – the Pelicans are 16-16, the Heat are 17-15 – is that they’ve been above average on one end of the floor, but below average on the other. New Orleans is 24th in the league in defense, but Miami is only 22nd in offense. Despite the Pelicans having a slightly worse record than the Heat, New Orleans is better in net rating at plus-0.3 (the 107.8 offensive rating and a 107.5 defensive rating). Miami is minus-1.4.

8-9: Pelicans road record this season after a 111-97 victory last night in Orlando. That marks a significant improvement from last season, when New Orleans did not post its eighth road win until Feb. 13. The Pelicans from a season ago secured their ninth away victory Feb. 15 at Memphis, which was the team's final game overall before the franchise hosted 2017 NBA All-Star festivities. The Cousins trade was first reported on the night of the All-Star Game.