“Suffering” is an operative word for the Pelicans, a team that has been hit by injuries in places that hurt the most. In the game against the Hawks, the Pelicans missed Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Steven Adams, and Josh Hart, which practically meant running a marathon barefoot.
Kira Lewis Jr. stepped up and scored a career-high 21 points, but it just wasn’t enough against a balanced Hawks team that didn’t have Trae Young.
The Pelicans are still within striking distance of the play-in tournament. They’ve just gotten Lonzo Ball back and it looked as if he swapped bazookas for arms when he was recovering in the seven games he missed due to a hip injury. In his comeback game versus the Houston Rockets, Ball scorched the nets with a career-high eight 3s.
The Hawks, meanwhile, are on a three-game winning streak and will fight for safety in a shifty, anything-can-happen Eastern Conference. Young is obviously still the cornerstone of the Hawks’ offense, and while he’s shown faint creases of inconsistency in his shooting, he’s more than made up for it in his playmaking ability. He’s ranked third in the league in assists with 9.4 per game, just behind James Harden’s 11.1 and Russell Westbrook’s 10.5.
Young’s 25.2 points per game is below last season’s 29.6, but good thing for the Hawks, Young has received help in the bucket-getting department from Clint Capela and John Collins. Atlanta has also managed to form its own bench mob featuring Danilo Gallinari, Lou Williams, De’Andre Hunter, and Bogdan Bogdanovic.
New Orleans will have to come at the Hawks at full strength not only to redeem the earlier loss, but more importantly, to keep their footing in the playoff race. Catch the Pelicans versus Hawks rematch live at 07:30 AM on NBA TV Philippines.