Friday, March 24, 2023
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NBA Preview: Atlanta Hawks (27-27) at New Orleans Pelicans (28-27)

The New Orleans Pelicans have rediscovered their offense.

After averaging 103.9 points during a 10-game losing streak, the Pelicans have won twice in two nights, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 131-126 on Saturday and scoring a season-high point total in a 136-104 victory against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.

New Orleans will play the third game of a four-game homestand when it meets the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.

The Pelicans routed the Kings despite the absence of three of New Orleans’ top four scorers – Zion Williamson (hamstring), Brandon Ingram (toe soreness) and Jonas Valanciunas (quad soreness). Williamson won’t play Tuesday, while Ingram and Valanciunas are day-to-day.

All 11 New Orleans players who entered the game against Sacramento scored. Trey Murphy III led the way with a season-high 30 points, making 6 of 8 shots from 3-point range.

The Hawks also are coming off back-to-back games, winning 115-108 at Utah on Friday before losing at Denver 128-108 on Saturday as leading scorer Trae Young (non-COVID illness) was sidelined.

Atlanta fell behind by 18 points at halftime against Denver before getting as close as eight in the fourth quarter.

Dejounte Murray scored 28 points and De’Andre Hunter added 20 to lead Atlanta, but overall, the offense was spotty without Young.

The Hawks made 6 of 20 3-pointers (30 percent) and the Nuggets made 15 of 38 (39.5 percent).

The Hawks, who are concluding a stretch of five road games in nine days, defeated the Pelicans 124-121 in overtime Nov. 5 at Atlanta.

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