The New Orleans Pelicans are the NBA’s hottest team, enjoying a seven-game win streak that they hope to extend tonight in Utah.
They’ve had some blowouts and tight games during this run, and the Pels have had a few close calls, blown a few leads and won a few games when they weren’t at their best.
One time when they have been at their best this season is at the end of close games, where the Pelicans have been very good this season.
This is known as “clutch time” in the stats, which basically just means the last five minutes of a close game. The Pelicans have played 10 of these already this season and have gone 7-3 while putting up some impressive numbers.
New Orleans is now 15-0 in games when they lead going into the 4th quarter, and their ability to stay focused late in games should serve them well as they try to make a deep playoff run this season.
New Orleans Pelicans in the clutch
If you look at the New Orleans Pelicans’ statistics in clutch time, there are a few things that immediately stand out.
- Every single player for the Pelicans has a positive net rating in the clutch time, with Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum leading the team with +35 and +31, respectively.
- Naji Marshall leads the Pelicans in FG percentage in clutch time at 80 percent, followed by Trey Murphy (66.7), Herb Jones (60) and Jose Alvarado (60), so the Pels have been getting contributions from a variety of guys in close games.
- Herbert Jones has hit 8-of-10 free throws in clutch time to lead the team.
- CJ McCollum has the lowest FG percentage in the clutch at 41.2 percent, but every other player is shooting at least 50 percent.
- CJ McCollum leads the Pelicans in clutch-time rebounds with 12, followed by Larry Nance (10) and Zion Williamson (5). CJ also leads the team in clutch-time blocks.
So what can we glean from all of this data? The New Orleans Pelicans are winning most of their close games and just about everyone has been involved. Even though it’s been CJ and Zion taking most of the shots, the role players are getting it done when they get the opportunity.
It’s also interesting how many bench players have logged big minutes late in close games, which speaks to the Pels’ quality depth and Willie Green’s confidence in his role players.
The ability to win tight games is a great sign for a team that is this young as the Pels are showing they are not afraid of the big moment, which is a great quality for a team that hopes to be in the playoffs.