Behind the Numbers presented by HUB International: Pelicans at Nets (2/10/18)
A look at three key numbers related to Saturday’s game at Barclays Center between New Orleans and Brooklyn (5 p.m. Central, Fox Sports New Orleans, WRNO 99.5 FM):
25: Franchise-record assists for Rajon Rondo during New Orleans’ 128-113 win over Brooklyn on Dec. 27, part of a 40-assist game by the Pelicans, the most for them this season. New Orleans has handed out 30-plus assists in 15 separate games, going 9-6 in those contests, including 8-3 at home. By contrast, the team’s 17 assists Friday in Philadelphia were the second-fewest of the entire campaign, with 15 in the Oct. 18 season opener at Memphis being the least. Despite the Pelicans’ meager total of 17 assists last night, Rondo still had 10 assists.
9: New Orleans place in the Western Conference standings after Friday’s loss in Philadelphia and a 1-5 stretch since DeMarcus Cousins sustained a season-ending injury. The Pelicans have been in the top eight of the West for the vast majority of the regular season, but that changed with the results of Friday’s games, which also included a Clippers (28-25) road win over Detroit. The good news is that New Orleans (28-26) has a chance to reverse that Saturday if it can defeat Brooklyn (19-37) and the Clippers lose in Philadelphia (27-25). The Pelicans also are only half of a game behind Denver (29-26); the Nuggets are at Phoenix (18-38) later tonight. In other words, in a best-case scenario New Orleans could move back up to seventh place by the end of this evening.
4, 6: Rank among the 30 NBA teams in pace of play for New Orleans and Brooklyn, respectively, two of the fastest clubs in the league. The Pelicans are averaging 101.81 possessions per 48 minutes, via NBA.com, while the Nets are not far behind at 101.12. So expect an up-tempo game in Barclays Center that could replicate what happened when the clubs faced off Dec. 27 in the Smoothie King Center (pace of 100.1). Incidentally, the only teams that play faster in 2017-18 than New Orleans are the Lakers, Golden State and Phoenix.