The Pelicans‘ recent surge is largely because of their improved defense, William Guillory of The Athletic writes. New Orleans has won four straight games, including a 124-90 victory over the Jazz on Friday.
Prior to that, the Pelicans held the Kings and Lakers to 95 points each, plus the Suns to 102 points. On the season, the team has allowed 108.7 points per game, which ranks 13th in the league. New Orleans currently holds the No. 10 seed in the West at 27-36.
“I feel like we’re doing a great job of defending, keeping guys out of the paint and just forcing them into tough shots,” said Herbert Jones, one of the league’s rising young defenders. “We’re flying all over the place, helping each other out. One guy gets beat, it’s another one of our brothers there to help him out. Hopefully, we can stay consistent and keep defending how we’re defending.”
There’s more from the Southwest:
- Joe Wieskamp earned a standard deal with the Spurs by trusting in their development process, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News explores. The Spurs converted Wieskamp’s two-way deal into a traditional contract on Friday. San Antonio drafted the 22-year-old with the No. 41 pick last year.
- In a separate story for the San Antonio Express-News, Orsborn examines a number of recent Spurs takeaways, including a learning lesson for rookie Joshua Primo. The 19-year-old played 11 fourth-quarter minutes against the Hornets on Saturday, finishing with 10 points.
- Daishen Nix has offered the Rockets a glimpse into the future, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. Nix has averaged 22.5 points in the G League this season, shooting 49% from the floor and 40% from deep. Houston promoted him from his two-way deal and signed him to a four-year deal last month.