A look at three key numbers related to Friday’s game in Orlando between New Orleans and Washington (7 p.m. Central, Fox Sports New Orleans, 100.3 FM, NBA League Pass):
6, 5: With John Wall, Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans not participating in the NBA restart for Washington, shots and opportunities have opened up for a wide range of lesser-known Wizards. Thomas Bryant has stepped into a primary offensive role, leading Washington (24-44) by averaging 19.8 points over four games in Orlando. Bryant tops a group of six Wizards producing double-digit scoring. Next in line are Jerome Robinson (17.0), Troy Brown (16.0) and former Pelicans point guard Ish Smith (13.8). Incidentally, a loss by Washington tonight will eliminate any mathematical chance it has of gaining a spot in the Eastern Conference’s play-in round.
Meanwhile, New Orleans (29-39) has five players averaging 10-plus points over its four games, including Brandon Ingram (21.3), Zion Williamson (16.8), JJ Redick (16.5), Jrue Holiday (14.0) and Josh Hart (10.3). The Pelicans must win at least three of their final four games to stay mathematically alive in the Western Conference, while also needing help in other games. If New Orleans goes 4-0 the rest of the way, it needs two of the three following scenarios to happen to qualify for the play-in round: Memphis goes 1-3 or worse, Portland goes 1-3 or worse, Phoenix loses at least once.
9: New Orleans rank in pace among the 22 NBA teams invited to the league’s restart in Central Florida. That’s just one of several uncharacteristic elements of the Pelicans’ play over four games, after they were second among 30 clubs pre-pandemic in tempo. New Orleans is also clocking in below its norms in other key categories such as offensive efficiency (16th in Orlando of 22 teams), turnover percentage (No. 20 in Orlando, ahead of only Toronto and Utah) and rebounding percentage (tied for 13th). The Pelicans have struggled throughout the season at the foul line, but they’ve dipped further in that department lately, shooting below 65 percent in matchups vs. the Clippers and Memphis, the 15th and 16th times they’ve dipped under that mark. New Orleans is 6-10 this season when it shoots below 65 percent at the charity stripe, one factor behind a 13-25 record in clutch games.
60, 45: Individual three-point percentages for Hart and Redick, respectively, during the NBA restart. Unfortunately for New Orleans, among its seven players who’ve attempted at least nine three-pointers through four games in Orlando, Hart, Redick and Ingram (43 percent) are the only Pelicans connecting on more than one-third of their tries. That’s pushed what’s normally a very good three-point shooting squad down to middle of the pack in Orlando, ranking 11th of 22 teams in percentage (36.3). Defensively, New Orleans ranks No. 17 of 22 teams in three-point percentage allowed (38.9), partly due to red-hot performances by opponents Sacramento and the LA Clippers. The Pelicans are giving up the fifth-most treys per game (15.3) in the restart.