Behind the Numbers presented by HUB International: Suns at Pelicans (2/26/18)

by Jim Eichenhofer

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

5, 9: Active winning streak and losing streak, respectively, for New Orleans (33-26 overall) and Phoenix, entering Week 20 of the NBA regular season. The Pelicans have won five in a row, their longest such streak since February/March 2015, while the Suns’ nine-game losing streak is their lengthiest since a 13-gamer in March/April of last season. Entering Monday’s action, the only team hotter than New Orleans right now is Houston, winners of 12 straight, with Indiana and Charlotte just behind New Orleans with four wins in a row. Phoenix is tied with Memphis for the longest current losing skid. The Pelicans have not won six games in a row since the 2010-11 campaign, when they reeled off a franchise-record 10 straight triumphs.

5: New Orleans ranking among the 30 NBA teams in defensive efficiency since Feb. 10, when the Pelicans began this current winning streak at Brooklyn. New Orleans is allowing just 102.8 points per 100 possessions over its past five games, via, which trails only Utah, Golden State, Indiana and Philadelphia. That quintet of teams not coincidentally has combined to go 21-3 over that span. Also during this five-game streak, New Orleans ranks in the top 10 of the NBA in rebounding percentage (ninth at 51.2), turnover percentage (10th at 12.2, despite a poor showing Sunday at Milwaukee) and pace (first, 106.80 possessions per 48 minutes).

65.6: Combined scoring average for Anthony Davis (39.2) and Jrue Holiday (26.4) during their team’s five-game winning streak. With four-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins sidelined for the remainder of the season due to injury, the Pelicans’ other top two players have significantly increased their production, carrying the load for New Orleans. Both players have excelled offensively, but are also contributing in a number of other ways. Davis is the first player since Shaquille O’Neal in 2001 to post five straight games of at least 27 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks; Holiday is averaging 6.0 rebounds, 8.6 assists and 1.8 steals in the last five games.