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New Orleans Pelicans

Perfect 10?

Luis Enrique Corzo

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It was a little under 6 weeks ago that Pelicans fans received the news that Demarcus Cousins, so instrumental in the victory vs the Rockets earlier that night, had torn his achilles tendon chasing after a rebound late in the game and would be out for the rest of the season. The Pellies were in the midst of a stretch where they’d won 12 of their last 17 games. They looked poised to make it into the playoffs, and had shown, at times, an ability to play with the best. Davis and Cousins were All-Star starters. They’d beaten a Rockets team that, when fully healthy, had not lost. To this day, they’re still the one team that can claim that.

However, with one tweet that all was seemingly dashed. Understandably, after losing Boogie, the team looked lethargic. They went 1-4 immediately after, with double digit losses against the Kings, Minny, Utah, & Philly. They were -42 in those last two losses combined. It looked like the team at best needed to make it to the All-Star break to reset and at worst, was on the march to miss the playoffs again.

 

Then came The Streak…

 

The Streak currently stands at 10. Not seen in New Orleans since the 2010-2011 season. This was the season that ended in a playoff loss to the Lakers. Home of the BEST triple double in franchise history, which I wrote about here. The starting PG of that team was of course CP3 with fellow current Rocket Trevor Ariza at SF. Marco Belinelli at the other guard, David West at PF and in what is sure to be the weirdest future obscure trivia fact about him later, Emeka Okafor at Center.

 

The current Streak hasn’t always been pretty, there’s some things that have looked bad. A lot more things have looked good, but what matters is the Pelicans have racked up wins and kept in step with the Wild West Playoff Race. Here’s my favorite 3 things from The Streak:

1) The Pace: The Pels are averaging less turnovers, more assists and more points then their season average. Interestingly enough, they’re not doing it with 3 point shots. They are shooting less than their season average from the arc during The Streak. They’re taking an extra 11 shots per game, all inside the arc, that has resulted in an extra 12+ points per game. The pace would be league leading over the whole season, and it’s interesting how the team seems unlocked with the extra possessions that they are generating on offense.

 

2) Nikola and Emeka (Role Players): While the hot shooting from Moore and Miller earlier in the season has cooled off, in comes these 2 players to pick up the slack. Emeka Okafor has looked like a steal next to AD, providing solid fundamental big man skill while Niko has gotten more and more comfortable as the games go on, ending with last nights 26 point explosion and this gorgeous ⅘ Pick and Roll

https://gfycat.com/ApprehensiveImmaculateAgama

3) Jrue Holiday: While AD has been nothing short of amazing, Jrue has also elevated his play since Boogie went down. Already having a career year, he’s found another gear on offense even above that, raising up his scoring average to nearly to 24.9 ppg (up from 19.4) and his assists to 8.5 (up from 5.8). This is without including his stellar defense, which has also picked up. No highlight more impressive perhaps, than Jrue stonewalling Lou Williams to close out the Clippers game:

https://gfycat.com/IdleAliveChevrotain

So as we all sit with baited breath to find out the extent of AD’s ankle injury, I thought it was a good time to look back at the streak, especially if the Pels can break their franchise record this Friday night.

From New Orleans by way of Escondido, Luis Enrique Corzo is one of the original moderators of the Pelicans SubReddit and contributed work to the now defunct Stoop Sports.

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