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Pelicans shootaround update presented by HUB International: Lonzo Ball in midst of torrid shooting week

Lonzo Ball entered the 2019-20 season having never made seven three-pointers in a game during his two-year NBA career. As a first-year member of the New Orleans Pelicans, he’s now done it three times since Dec. 29, including twice in the past two games. Although it came in a pair of narrow losses, Ball was a fantastic 7/10 on threes vs. Minnesota on Tuesday, then shot 7/11 from the arc the next night in Dallas.

Since he initially drained seven treys in 12 attempts vs. Houston on Dec. 29, the point guard is shooting 40.3 percent from deep, raising his season percentage to a career-best 37.9. That’s a steep increase from the 31.5 percent he shot during his first two pro seasons.

Over seven games played after the All-Star break, Ball ranks eighth among all NBA players (minimum 20 makes) in three-point percentage, connecting on 46.7 percent of his attempts. He’s off to the league’s hottest start in March, with his 53.6 percent rate edging Washington’s Davis Bertans (52.9) as tops in the NBA among players who’ve made at least 15 threes.

Notes from Friday’s shootaround in Metairie:

Speaking of three-point shooting, Dallas launched 50 attempts vs. New Orleans, the second-most any opponent has fired against the Pelicans this season (Houston gunned 51 on Super Bowl Sunday). This evening’s opponent, Miami (40-22) set a franchise record in its Wednesday win over Orlando by sinking 22 three-pointers, led by Duncan Robinson’s nine makes. That makes perimeter defense a major priority against the Heat.

“The game keeps evolving,” Pelicans guard Frank Jackson said of the prolific three-point shooting numbers around the league. “Obviously the three-point shot is something that has evolved over the years. I know guys are in the gym getting better.” …

Jackson was back in the rotation prior to JJ Redick (hamstring) being sidelined, but he’s also progressively been more involved in recent games, up to 21 minutes of action at Dallas. He scored 12 points vs. the Mavericks, his first double-digit scoring game since he had 13 points vs. Portland on Feb. 11.

“I stay ready. I put in the work and the time needed, and I think that’s showing,” Jackson said of being able to contribute more recently. “We’ve got an exciting push ahead of us. It’s been good to try to do as much as I can to help my team win. That’s all we’re focused on. I think if we come together, we can make something special happen.” …

New Orleans (26-36) enters Friday’s action five games behind eighth-place Memphis (31-31) and suddenly trails a few other teams that it had previously led in the standings. The Grizzlies are at Dallas tonight, then host Atlanta on Saturday. …

Kenrich Williams indicated that he will be available to play Friday. He has not played in a game since Jan. 6 vs. Utah, due to lower back soreness. The injury has limited him to just 35 games in his second NBA season.

“It feels good (to return),” Williams said. “To sit out almost two months, I’m just blessed to be back.

“The word I can use to describe (being out) is frustrating. Very frustrating. Trying to get my back right, but also wanting to be out there (on the court), but also wanting to be 100 percent.” …

Williams on his game shape after being out for an extended period: “I’ve been getting some conditioning in, now that I’ve felt better, but it’s nothing like playing in a game. I’ll take a couple games, but with my adrenaline, I’ll be ready.”