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Pelicans look to rebound from woeful shooting performance against Jazz

Something to keep an eye on: several important statistics have slipped of late

New Orleans Pelicans v Utah Jazz Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans will battle the Utah Jazz in a few hours time for the second time in three days, looking to atone for a 121-100 loss on Tuesday night.

A lot of eyes will be on the shooting. For the first time this season, the Pelicans failed to convert more than 40 percent of their field goal attempts (39.8 FG%). They were particularly anemic from the 3-point line, making only 4 of 27 attempts (14.8 3PT%).

The poor outside shooting isn’t a one-game aberration. The Pelicans have slumped badly from distance. Over their last nine games, they’ve connected on 31.1% from 3-point range. Only the Toronto Raptors have fared worse during this stretch.

Previously, New Orleans was knocking down 3-point jumpers at a 38.5% clip, fourth-best among the rest of the league.

Another couple of concerning trends, the defensive rebounding percentage has dipped below 70% and turnovers are up (15.1 TOV% — 21st) since Thanksgiving Day.

Make no mistake, the Pelicans miss Brandon Ingram — despite the 7-2 record over the last nine games. When he’s on the floor, the offense hums along nicely at a 121.8 ORTG. When he sits, the offensive rating is down considerably (109.5 ORTG).

Ingram is slated to get re-evaluated early next week for his left big toe contusion injury.

The Pelicans have been able to survive BI’s absence and the dismal outside shooting by demolishing opponents in the paint by an average of 10.6 points per game while playing stout, opportunistic defense.

They’re holding opponents below their usual field goal percentage by close to two percentage points and the steals and deflections numbers are slightly up from their already very good overall levels.

The Pelicans have an 18-9 record because they’re a team that’s done a lot of things well. However, they have slipped in a few areas of late. In order to leave Utah happy, they’ll have to improve upon Tuesday’s performance and do it without Jose Alvarado, who was ruled out yesterday with a right rib contusion.

Let’s Geaux, Pels!

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (18-9) at Utah Jazz (16-14)

When: December 15, 2022, 8:00 p.m. CT

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, League Pass

Where to listen: WRNO 99.5

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.