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Game Thread: Pelicans to continue following successful game plan of protecting the paint over the 3-point line against Pacers

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New Orleans leads the NBA in opponent 3-point attempts, but it hasn’t killed their defense

New Orleans Pelicans v Indiana Pacers Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

Ahead of Monday’s contest against the Pacers, head coach Stan Van Gundy divulged his thoughts to pregame media about the Pelicans leading the league in opponent three-point attempts.

“We’re not daring people to hit threes,” New Orleans head coach said. “We’re not standing there asking them to hit threes. We’re trying to get out and contest. Teams are shooting 34% from three against us. I think that has something to do with our closeouts and everything else. That’s like 8th in the league, at least going into last night’s games.

“It’s just a matter of priorities, and look, I said it earlier in the year. All you’ve got to do is look at last year, the last two years. The team who’s given up the most threes — by a good margin — has been the best defensive team in the league, in Milwaukee.”

The motto of protecting the paint first has paid dividends. New Orleans sits 4th in defensive rating (103.7) across the league before the start of tonight’s slate of NBA action. They’re giving up 102 points per game, good for third in the association. It’s hard to argue with these results, as the Pelicans are off to one of their better starts in franchise history.

For more on the matchup with Indiana, please give David Grubb’s preview a read.

Let’s geaux Pels!

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (4-2) vs Indiana Pacers (4-2)

When: January 4, 7:00 p.m. Central

Where to watch: FSNO

Where to listen: ESPN 100.3 FM

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.