Behind the Numbers presented by HUB International: Thunder at Pelicans (12/1/19)
A look at three key numbers related to Sunday’s game at the Smoothie King Center between Oklahoma City and New Orleans (4 p.m. Central, Fox Sports New Orleans, ESPN Radio New Orleans 100.3 FM):
31.4, 39.4: Three-point percentages for New Orleans and Oklahoma City, respectively, in the two games played this season between the teams, both in Chesapeake Energy Arena, on Nov. 2 and Friday. Those rates are particularly noteworthy because the Pelicans have been a better and more prolific perimeter shooting team than the Thunder over the course of 2019-20 – but not when facing them head-to-head. Oklahoma City averages 10.7 made three-pointers per game this season, but that number has spiked to 14.0 in two matchups with the Pelicans. Meanwhile, New Orleans averages 14.9 treys per game (second in the NBA), but only 11.0 vs. OKC. Interestingly, the Thunder have won the two matchups vs. NOLA by a total of 16 points (by 11 on Nov. 2, then by five on Friday), which is almost exactly their head-to-head advantage in points generated by three-point makes (18).
63.6: Brandon Ingram’s shooting percentage from the field in two games this season at Oklahoma City. The forward has been able to drive into the paint frequently against the Thunder, but his first meeting against them was cut short in the first half due to injury, after he tallied seven points (he posted 26 on Friday). Overall, the Pelicans have not been efficient against OKC, with only Jahlil Okafor (57.1 percent) and Jaxson Hayes (50.0) making at least half of their shots, and only one other player over 40 percent while appearing in both games (JJ Redick at 41.4). Among Pelicans who’ve participated in both Thunder games, only Okafor (+14), Ingram (+4) and Josh Hart (+8) have an aggregate plus-minus that’s on the positive side of the ledger.
6: Balance and offensive options have not been concerns for New Orleans lately, because six players averaged double-digit scoring in November, a group that was 0.1 ppg by Okafor away from expanding to seven. Ingram led the way by averaging 25.4 points, while Jrue Holiday netted 20.2. The group was rounded out by Redick (17.8), E’Twaun Moore (11.5), Hart (10.9) and Lonzo Ball (10.0). The only Pelicans who managed to play in all 14 games of the month were Holiday, Hayes and Kenrich Williams. Derrick Favors led New Orleans at 10.2 rebounds per game in six appearances, while Holiday handed out a team-best 7.3 apg.