Get ready for Monday’s SCCN doubleheader with five key stats to know about each matchup.
Warriors (32-32) at Pelicans (29-35)
• So far this season, the Pelicans are 16-21 against teams that are .500 or better, compared to 13-14 against teams below .500. As they chase the No. 10 Spurs and No. 9 Warriors to try to sneak into the Play-In Tournament, the Pelicans close out the regular season with seven of their final eight games against teams .500 or better – including three against Golden State over the next 12 days.
• Stephen Curry holds a 0.3 points per game lead in the scoring title race of Washington’s Bradley Beal with two weeks left to play. Since the All-Star break, Curry is averaging a league-best 33.9 ppg compared to Beal’s 28.4, which ranks sixth since the break. Of the 13 50+ scoring games in the league this season, Curry leads all players with three, while Beal has one.
• Zion Williamson ranks seventh in the league in field goal percentage (61.6%) and remains on pace to have the highest scoring average (27.0 PPG) ever for a player averaging at least 25 points per game, topping the mark by Kevin McHale (26.1 PG on 60.4 FG%) from the 1986-87 season.
• The Pelicans (0.3) and Warriors (-0.2) rank 16th and 18th, respectively, in net rating this season. The Warriors lean on their sixth-ranked defense (109.8) to offset their 24th-ranked offense (109.5). It is the opposite for the Pelicans, who have the ninth-ranked offense (113.8), but the 27th-ranked defense (113.5). Which team’s strength will prevail tonight: New Orleans’ offense or Golden State’s defense?
• The Pelicans rank fourth in first-quarter scoring, averaging 30.2 ppg and taking an average lead of 2.4 points into the second quarter. The Pelicans are 20-17 when winning the first quarter, compared to 9-18 when tied or trailing. The Warriors rank 17th in first-quarter scoring (27.9 ppg) and trail by an average of 1.7 points after the first 12 minutes. They are 22-7 when leading after the first quarter and 10-25 when tied or trailing.
Nuggets (43-21) at Lakers (36-28)
• The Nuggets and Lakers have split the first two games of the season series (Feb. 4 and 14) with the home team winning each games by 17 points or more. The Lakers are 17-15 at home this season, but have dropped three straight and five of their last six games at Staples Center. The Nuggets are 19-11 on the road (2nd in NBA) and have won three of their last four on the road, including a win over the Clippers at Staples on Saturday.
• In two games against the Lakers this season, Nikola Jokic is averaging 18.0 points per game (his fourth-lowest average against any team) and has been held to 42.4% shooting from the field (his lowest mark against any team) and 20% from 3-point range (his fifth-lowest mark against any team). Jamal Murray was the Nuggets’ leading scorer against the Lakers this season (22.5 ppg), but he is out with an ACL tear.
• The Nuggets enter Monday riding a five-game win streak as they have gone 9-1 since losing Murray for the remainder of the season on April 12. Over that 10-game stretch, the Nuggets have gotten a combined 52.2 points per game from Nikola Jokic (26.6 PPG, 58.1 FG%) and Michael Porter Jr. (25.6 PPG, 57.2 FG%, 51.3 3P%). The Nuggets have outscored their opponents by 34 points in 273 minutes with both Jokic and Porter on court together during this stretch; they have outscored their opponents by 54 points in 85 minutes with Porter on and Jokic off; and been outscored by nine points in 58 minutes with Jokic on and Porter off.
• LeBron James has nearly average a triple-double (24.5 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 9.5 APG) in two games against the Nuggets this season, leading the Lakers in all three categories. So far this season, LeBron has played on the second night of a back-to-back five times and averaged 26 points, 8.2 rebounds and 8.4 assists while shooting 50% from the field and 45.7% from 3-point range.
• Nikola Jokic (26.2 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 8.5 APG) and LeBron James (25.0 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 7.8 APG) are two of four players in the league averaging at least 25-7-7 this season. This would be Jokic’s first time hitting those marks for a full season; it would be LeBron’s 11th such season. LeBron is also looking to extend his remarkable run of averaging 25 points or more to 17 straight seasons.