NBA Game Preview - Bulls v Pelicans

NBA Basketball
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Final-OT - 2 OT 1 2 3 4 OT OT Tot
Chicago 21 27 33 33 8 6 128
New Orleans 25 29 27 33 8 10 132
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CTNaN:� , January 22, 2018
Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana  Attendance: 17,101

Pelicans, Bulls meet in game between improving teams

According to STATS
According to STATS

Chicago Bulls at New Orleans Pelicans

  1. The Bulls beat the Hawks on Saturday, 113-97, to move to 18-28 on the year. After going 3-20 in its first 23 games of the season, the Bulls are 15-8 and have scored 110 or more points in 15 games, tied with the Rockets for the most in the NBA since December 8.
  2. The Pelicans beat the Grizzlies, 111-104, shooting exactly 50.0 percent from the field. It was the 21st time New Orleans has shot 50.0 percent or better on field goals this year, second in the NBA only to the Warriors (29). With one more such game, the Pelicans will tie their franchise record for games in a single season with 22, set in 2009-10.
  3. New Orleans beat Chicago on November 4, 2017 in overtime, 96-90, snapping the Bulls' six-game win streak in the series. Chicago is 13-4 versus the Pelicans since the 2009-10 season, its best record versus a Western Conference opponent in that span.
  4. Lauri Markkanen has scored in double figures in 13 consecutive games, the longest streak by a Bulls rookie since a 13-game streak by Ben Gordon in the 2004-05 season. The only Bulls rookie with a longer such streak since 2000-01 is Kirk Hinrich, who had a 16-game streak in his rookie season of 2003-04.
  5. Jrue Holiday is one of four players averaging at least 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists this month while also shooting at least 50.0 percent from the field (minimum one game). The other three players are Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and LeBron James.
  6. Anthony Davis is averaging 31.0 points per game against the Bulls since last season, the highest average by any player in the league (minimum one game). Cousins is averaging 27.8 points per game against Chicago in that span, the fifth-highest mark in the NBA.

NEW ORLEANS -- For the New Orleans Pelicans and the Chicago Bulls, all the arrows are pointing up.

The Pelicans (24-21) have won five of their last seven games, including a 111-104 home victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night. The Bulls are just 18-28 on the season, but they have gone 15-8 since starting the season 3-20, and they have won four of their last five games, including an impressive 113-97 road victory over Miami on Monday night.

When the Pelicans host the Bulls Monday night, they will be trying to win their second straight game at home and improve on a 12-9 record at the Smoothie King Center that coach Alvin Gentry says could be the key to their playoff hopes.

New Orleans defeated Chicago 96-90 in overtime on the road Nov. 4, snapping a six-game losing streak to the Bulls. In that victory, Anthony Davis scored 27 points and had 16 rebounds and DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points and 11 rebounds.

The Pelicans' two All-Star Game starters have shown consistent signs of playing off each other, but their scoring ability in the paint and on the perimeter has led opponents to devote more resources to keep them under control, allowing other players to beat them.

In the Pelicans' victory over the Grizzlies, Davis took just two shots in the second half because Memphis kept blitzing him whenever he got the ball. That left room for guard Jrue Holiday to score at will.

Showing the aggressiveness that was missing earlier in the season, Holiday scored a team-high 27 points and added a team-high eight assists. Holiday scored 13 of the Pelicans' 23 fourth-quarter points as New Orleans recovered from another third-quarter lapse and staved off a collapse after leading by 20 points in the first half.

"It's just easy when they key on two people (Davis and Cousins)," Holiday said. "It's pretty much me with one (defender). I wouldn't say it's easy, but in those situations you just have to make the play."

Davis has been the lightning rod for opposing defenses since exploding for 48 points against the Knicks and 45 points against the Celtics in overtime road victories last week.

"More and more teams are trying to take our two bigs out of the game and see what we can do with our other players," Gentry said. "That's fine with (Davis and Cousins). If it means them taking just 13 shots each, they are fine with it because all they want to do is win."

The Bulls probably will be without point guard Kris Dunn, who is still shaking off concussion symptoms following a hard fall in a Wednesday night loss to Golden State. Jerian Grant is expected to get the start, with backup help from Zach LaVine, who is working his way back for ACL surgery, and Denzel Valentine.

The Bulls got a strong effort in Miami from forward Lauri Markkanen, who scored 19 points despite missing all four of his 3-pointers, which is his strong suit. Markkanen was the fastest player ever in the NBA to make at least 100 3-pointers.

Markkanen decided to go inside against the Heat, finishing with six dunks and another two layups.

"I'm trying to be a complete player," Markkanen said. "I can do much more than just shoot from the outside. That wasn't going for me, so I figured I would do something else. I can shoot threes, but I can get to the rim. Eventually, that's going to open up a lot more space for 3-pointers. Try to mix it up."

Updated January 21, 2018

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