NBA Basketball

Final-OT 1 2 3 4 OT Tot
Orlando 27 25 19 30 14 115
New Orleans 26 19 31 25 9 110
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0020:00 ET6:00 PM CT23:00 , April 1, 2021
Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana  Attendance: 3,700

Role players, defense propel Pelicans into matchup vs. Magic

According to STATS
According to STATS

Orlando Magic at New Orleans Pelicans

  1. The Magic are 9-2 against the Pelicans since the start of the 2015 calendar year, the best record by any team against the Pelicans over that span.
  2. Orlando is currently last in the NBA with a .431 field-goal percentage this season. They have never finished a season last in the league in that category.
  3. In his last game, Wendell Carter Jr. became the second NBA player in the last 30 years to have 10+ points, 5+ rebounds, 3+ assists, 3+ blocks and shoot 100.0% from the field off the bench in a game. The other was Greg Monroe, who did it twice for the Bucks (March 4, 2016 and March 17, 2017).
  4. Zion Williamson has averaged 25.0+ points per game on 60.0+ percent shooting in each of the last three months. He's the first NBA player to have three such months in a season (minimum 10 games in the month) since Shaquille O'Neal in 1993-94.
  5. As a team, the Pelicans have shot at least 50.0 percent from the field in 18 of their 28 games since the start of February. The 18 games are the most in the NBA over that span.
  6. New Orleans has had at least 40 points in the paint in 40 straight games, the longest active streak in the NBA and the second-longest streak in franchise history (50 straight in 2018-19).

Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram are one of the highest-scoring tandems in the NBA.

Williamson, who is listed as questionable (right thumb sprain) for Thursday's home game against Orlando, is averaging 26.4 points a game, and Ingram is at 23.8.

But it's the help they have gotten from role players and the team's defense that have helped the New Orleans Pelicans win four of their past five games.

"I think it's been great effort, great attention to detail, just trusting each other a little bit more," guard Josh Hart said of New Orleans' improved defense.

The Pelicans are allowing an average of 108.8 points during their past five games, which is about seven points a game less than their season average.

"We're (46 games) into the season," Hart said. "We're growing every day in terms of trust and camaraderie and everything like that."

In their most recent game, a 115-109 victory at Boston on Monday, the Pelicans held the Celtics to 43-percent shooting from the field.

"I thought the defense down the stretch was really good," Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We really fought hard. I was happy with what we did."

Williamson played well enough to be named an All-Star, but he has been even better recently, averaging 32.4 points during the past five games. He has received support from teammates other than just Ingram recently.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker has started the past five games while Lonzo Ball has been sidelined by a strained hip flexor. Alexander-Walker has averaged 17.8 points and 5.4 rebounds while making 40.4 percent of his 3-pointers.

Hart had 15 points and 15 rebounds against the Celtics; Ball is listed as questionable for Thursday.

The Magic had lost 13 of their past 15 games before a fourth-quarter comeback produced a 103-96 win against the host Clippers on Tuesday, ending Los Angeles' six-game winning streak.

"This league is all about wins," said Wendell Carter Jr., whose tip-in gave Orlando the lead for good with 1:10 remaining. "We took a great step forward in the right direction. It definitely is a confidence-booster going up against one of the best teams in the Western Conference and getting a win on the road."

The victory ended a seven-game road losing streak for the Magic.

"Wendell is a smart player," said rookie Chuma Okeke, who led the Magic with 18 points. "He is also smart off the court, so he is going to pick up things very, very quick -- quicker than most guys."

Otto Porter Jr. finished with 13 points as the Magic outscored the Clippers 33-23 in the fourth quarter, and Carter ended with 11 points.

"We have been a little bit limited in this stretch due to being on the road but continue to add things, even if it is teaching them in a ballroom," Orlando coach Steve Clifford said. "This is the style we are going to have to play. We have to defend and be smart."

--Field Level Media

Updated March 31, 2021

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2021 by STATS PERFORM.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS PERFROM is strictly prohibited.