A look at three key numbers related to Sunday’s game at the Smoothie King Center between Orlando and New Orleans (2:30 p.m. Central, Fox Sports New Orleans, ESPN Radio New Orleans 100.3 FM):
396: Career games played by JJ Redick for Orlando, over the first 6.5 regular seasons of his career. Week 8 of the NBA schedule has been a veritable Redick reunion tour, with the shooting guard facing a former franchise in three straight games Wednesday, Friday and Sunday’s matchup vs. the Magic. The 14-year veteran deposited a season-high 31 points Wednesday at Milwaukee, where he played briefly during the 2012-13 season for the Bucks. He followed that up with 19 points Friday at Philadelphia, including 3/5 three-point shooting, making him 6/12 from beyond the arc over the two games of New Orleans’ road trip vs. elite Eastern Conference squads. Redick’s tenure in Orlando was highlighted by a trip to the 2009 NBA Finals against the Lakers; he was a prominent role player that spring, making eight starts for the Magic in that postseason. Redick is the only member of New Orleans’ current roster who has played in the league’s championship round.
7: Times in 26 games New Orleans has attempted more free throws than its opponent, a somewhat difficult to believe statistic, but one that has severely damaged the Pelicans in 2019-20. As a result, entering Sunday’s game, the Pelicans have attempted 99 fewer foul shots than their foes, which is directly related to them scoring 113 less points on free throws (4.3 points per game). The good news? New Orleans shot more free throws than both Milwaukee and Philadelphia on a two-game road trip, by margins of 22-9 against the Bucks and 35-34 vs. the 76ers. New Orleans is 3-4 when it makes more trips to the charity stripe than the opposition, including an Oct. 31 home win over Denver (32-16 margin). Offensively, when they attempt 24 or more free throws, the Pelicans are 4-3, but 2-17 when they take less than 24 (0-8 with less than 14 tries). Among the three defeats while taking 24-plus foul shots: a four-point loss to the Lakers and a six-point defeat vs. the Rockets.
7-2: Orlando’s record vs. New Orleans in the last nine head-to-head meetings, including winning three of the last four matchups in the Crescent City. Even when the Pelicans have had a far superior record than the Magic overall, they’ve still had major problems with the franchise from Central Florida. For example, during the ’17-18 campaign – when New Orleans reached the second round of the Western Conference playoffs and Orlando was the East’s second-worst team at 25-57 – the Magic pounded the Pelicans 115-99 in the Smoothie King Center. New Orleans needs to start picking up more wins this season against the East, after starting just 1-6, but has not posted a 2-0 season-series sweep over Orlando since ’10-11. Incidentally, even though we’re almost one-third of the way into the 82-game schedule, New Orleans has not faced any of the East teams near the bottom of the standings, such as Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland and New York.