Behind the Numbers presented by HUB International: Trail Blazers at Pelicans (11/19/19)
A look at three key numbers related to Tuesday’s game at the Smoothie King Center between Portland and New Orleans (7 p.m. Central, Fox Sports New Orleans, ESPN Radio New Orleans 100.3 FM):
2, 3: Ranking among all NBA rookies in November in blocks and rebounds per 36 minutes for Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes (via NBA.com, minimum 120 minutes played this month). The No. 8 overall pick in the draft is blocking 2.1 shots per 36, second only to Indiana’s Goga Bitadze (3.8) among first-year pros. Meanwhile, Hayes has grabbed 8.9 boards per 36 minutes (3.8 on offense, 5.1 on defense), placing him behind Memphis’ Brandon Clarke (11.4) and Bitadze (9.4). Scoring-wise, Hayes has been increasingly productive recently and ranks 12th among rookies in November (14.2 points per 36 minutes). Pelicans rookie guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker has climbed to fourth in the NBA among newcomers at 19.3 points per 36 minutes in November, behind only Memphis’ Ja Morant (25.3) and Clarke (22.5), as well as Golden State’s Eric Paschall (20.3).
18, 20: Over the past 10 days, New Orleans’ ranking among the 30 NBA teams in defensive efficiency and rebounding percentage, respectively, part of a general improvement as the Pelicans have gone 3-2 during that span (wins over Charlotte, LA Clippers, Golden State; losses against Houston, Miami). By comparison, prior to Nov. 9, New Orleans ranked second-to-last in both categories, ahead of only Golden State in defense and only better than Chicago on the backboards. Despite having a severely depleted roster, the Pelicans have mostly managed to keep opponents from putting up astronomical scoring numbers lately – the two weekend games against Miami and Golden State marked the first time in 2019-20 that they allowed less than 110 points in consecutive contests. New Orleans is 3-1 when allowing less than 115 points, but 1-8 in other games.
11, 9, 9, 8, 0: Games played (out of 13) for the five players who began 2019-20 training camp and preseason as the starters for New Orleans. The Pelicans have never put their projected first unit on the court in the regular season and have often recently only had two-fifths or three-fifths of that contingent available, a quintet that includes Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram, Derrick Favors, Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson, respectively. Favors joined Williamson as being listed as out for tonight’s game vs. Portland, while former Lakers teammates Ball and Ingram are both questionable. Holiday was the only preseason starter in uniform during Sunday’s home win over Golden State.