The Pelicans are starting to find their groove again.
New Orleans went into Boston Tuesday night and snapped the Celtics’ seven-game win streak. That win was the Pelicans’ third straight and pushed New Orleans to three games above .500 for the second time all season.
Now the Pelicans have to hop on a plane and fly south to Atlanta to take on the struggling Hawks. The Hawks are neck and neck with Orlando and Sacramento for worst record in the NBA, but it’s worth pointing out that Atlanta gave New Orleans all they could handle in the Smoothie King Center earlier in the season. Thanks to four three-pointers by Darius Miller in the fourth quarter, New Orleans was able to escape an embarrassing loss to the Hawks.
Atlanta was 2-12 coming into that mid-November meeting and their record has hardly improved since. The Hawks have sprinkled in ten wins since the first matchup but have seen nearly twice as many losses.
Despite the poor record, Atlanta has talent on the roster. Dennis Schroder is averaging 20 points and six assists a game. Taurean Prince and Kent Bazemore are each averaging 12 points; Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova are right behind them with 11 points; and rookie John Collins continues to impress with his near 11-point, 7-rebound averages per game.
One thing the Pelicans’ tired legs need to be cautious of is Atlanta’s shooting from three. The Hawks don’t attempt a lot, but they’re fourth in the entire league in three-point percentage. Prince, Bazemore, Belinelli and Ilyasova all shoot 39 percent or better from three and Malcolm Delaney isn’t too far off their pace, hitting 35 percent of his attempts.
New Orleans is starting to look like a good team again, thanks to this latest Anthony Davis explosion, but they’re coming into Atlanta a tired team. The Pelicans had to go into overtime to get that impressive win over Boston last night and had to do the same to beat the Knicks in Madison Square Garden. Three games in four nights certainly screams “schedule loss” but if New Orleans can muster just enough energy they should walk out of Atlanta riding a new season-best four game win streak.
What: New Orleans Pelicans at Atlanta Hawks
Where: Philips Arena
When: January 17, 2018, 6:30 p.m. Central
How: FSNO, WRNO 99.5 FM